Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New year, dear Blogger friends!!! Don't forget, it's still Christmas, so we still get to celebrate Jesus' birthday!!!! :D

You all will be in my prayers!! May 2010 bring you more blessings, and may you feel Jesus' love for you in a special special way!!! Hope you're looking forward to 2010! (I know I am :) Right now is a perfect time to ponder and reflect on the numerous blessings we have received this past year! :)

'See' ya all next year!! ;)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas, dear blogger friends!
I pray that you will feel Christ's special love for you this wonderful day!!! :) ♫
And a BIG happy birthday to Jesus!
I hope that everyone in the world will know whose birthday it is today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Late Advent reflection...

...I know I said the 'St. Damien of Molokai part 2' was coming up, but I'm still in the process of writing it, and I haven't even said anything about Advent and soon it'll be Christmas, and who knows when it'll posted with all the 'hecticness' comes around...

:P OK, I'm aware that that sounded like a "Dear Santa, I can explain!" thing.
But you get the point. I've given up writing excuses because it's a total waste of time since Jesus already knows who's been good or not (He's got the best seat, no? :)

Now, onto Advent...

This is going to be a quick post, ok?
What is Advent? (I'm not going to answer this question, btw)
To a kid, it probably means 'time to prepare for Christmas! time for Mom and Dad to go out and pick out our presents!! Yaayyy...' and on and on. And what about in the Church? 'Everything's purple.' Yep.
I used to think that Advent was kinda like a time when Mom or Dad closes your eyes, or puts on a blindfold, and leads you through the house for a surprise. Your heart's beating fast, and you're super excited to see what clothes Mom picked out for you (well, not for me), and what super cool toy Dad has in store for you now. You already know that you won't be disappointed...or not? I think it depends on how you receive the gift. That's why Advent is so important. It kind of reflects and influences how you feel when Christmas comes. It prepares you for that feeling - that wonderful feeling of peace that floods your soul when everyone comes together, family, friends, and most IMPORTANTLY, HIM. (No! Not Santa! ...ok, maybe a little.)
But sometimes, some kids may think that, 'Christmas is every year. How come we have to celebrate it again and again?"

Battle that first question with this, "Well, you're already born - why do we have to celebrate your birthday?"
Or the other kids may say this, "Who cares?! Christmas is AWESOME!!!" And they have no idea what the purpose of Christmas is, and have no idea what they are talking about.

Why not celebrate Christmas all over again and over again? For us Catholics, we get to celebrate it for 12 days. ...and that boring feeling that we have to spend and 'we did that last year...i'm tired' thing? Stop that. If you received life, shouldn't you be thankful for that? Especially being born into the true light and life. Advent season is the time to be thankful for everything of the year, especially the presence of Jesus.

But it doesn't end there. Advent is a lot like Lent. (Yes! I did just say that!) In what way, you may ask? 'A time of reflection and preparation.' Sounds familiar? And we're supposed to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter and Christmas. And we're not supposed to mention 'Alleluia' during Lent, and for know the similarities.
There's a lot more to Lent and Advent than just simply waiting. It's a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Our Lord. And just not our hearts, our souls too. We do many sacrifices during Lent to show how much we love God, but doesn't that go for the entire year? We love God, of course, but it doesn't mean we have to prove it by doing sacrifices one time a year. Advent & Lent = obviously very important if it's about three-five weeks of preparation for Easter/Christmas.

Remember that other reflection that I did for Lent? It was a 'video game analogy' for my young readers :)
K, you know how hard it is to defeat the 'boss' in a video game? All that preparing, leveling up, and stocking up on supplies and upgrading your weapons? Lent & Advent is kinda like that. Sure it's sweet when you're already powerful enough to defeat the boss head on straight, but sometimes that feeling of accomplishment isn't as satisfying if you didn't work hard to get the victory. But that's only half the battle :) You're not comepletely finished yet. After you defeat this 'badguy or whatever,' you get new equipment, tons of experience points, and that awesome sense of accomplishment, you're off to the next challenge, and at the same time you're excited to use whatever you gained because of all that hard work? Again, Lent/Advent is a lot like that.
...and if you didn't work hard, it's a game over :( Total disappointment. Don't let your Easter/Christmas be like that. Nobody likes a sour Christmas.

concerning presents: It's the thought that counts, but I really wish that kids my age (especially my age :P ) would understand this real feeling of peace and true joy. I often see kids my age with cellphones (I don't particularily like cellphones. I think they're totally bothersome somtimes.), expensive uh, thingies...whatever it is they buy, makeup (I think Jesus doesn't want you to think that he created you wrong :( The true beauty is inside of you :), and really really awful/weird/gross/did-I-mention-awful clothes (I'll have to post something about that sometime). How many kids in the world know that the best gift of Christmas is not something that only lasts for two years?? ...And they don't even acknowledge their parents sometimes. Sad. :( That's also what Advent is for. Not just preparing your own heart for Christmas, but everyone else.

Also, isn't this time also called the 'Season of Giving...? That's actually a nice title. We remember during this season that Jesus gave us Himself, all of him, his love, and everything. We try to imitate him by acting super super good this year, and the next, (and the next and the next and the next............) But not for Christmas presents. But I'm sure, if you've been good this year, you'd be able to feel that peace, that joy, and the true meaning of Christmas in your heart - best present of all. One of the priests that says Mass at our parish gave us this very interesting saying, "God is always up to something good." (Jesus wouldn't give you something bad...depending on how you look at it yourself) Who knows? Maybe Jesus has something great in store for you. Keep your eyes peeled, and your heart open!

And if I don't somehow am able to say this on the actual day...

MELE KALIKIMAKA!!! (that's Hawaiian for: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!) :)

You all will be in my prayers during this special time. God bless you all with much joy, blessings, and true peace!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Align CenterHappy Thanksgiving everyone!! Hope it has been awesome! ^_^

Btw, I'm really sorry about that part 2 Damien post, but I should have it up soon. :) (yeah right)

My previous laptop committed suicide, so I have been not able to spend very much time blogging. I just got a new one, so that means I can write to my heart's content!! (Yes, I love to write - even if it's not a schooday!) lol

here's a Hawaiian sunset I took - another great thing to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Damien Relic Mass, Procession, & Evening prayer

Yes, it was such a long, but beautiful day!!

So...we arrived around 10:30...Mass wasn't until 12:00pm. So we waited outside, and saw that everything was prepared for the event. 1,200+ people were expected to come for the Mass (about 1500 came, all in all, for the procession and event at Iolani Palace), so chairs were set outside with four 50in. TV screens for them to watch what was going on inside the Cathedral. The Cathedral can only hold about 600 people at the most, so... :)

Here's the canoe on which the relic in its reliquary, in a koa box, will be carried during the procession.

Some things on the side...

Here's a close-up of the design on the top. It's Moloka'i!

Uh, nothing in particular... I mean, I thought it was sooo beautiful that day! Blue skies! I thought it was a pretty cool picture of our Cathedral.

Here's a tapestry that was hung inside the Kamiano Center (or parish hall - the Hawaiians called Damien 'Kamiano') If you look closely, it shows St. Damien's life.

We were so blessed to see the relic arrive first! There it is!! Before going over to the Cathedral for the 12noon Mass, we had a bit of prayer time and veneration time.

Here's a special banner we had for the Year of Priests...

Bishop's homily. :) It had to be extra short, because there was nooo way that we could fit a very special Mass in just one hour. It ended up being a little more than an hour in the end...

Here we go! Procession time! So we processed after the Mass, straight to Iolani palace, about three blocks away. It took an hour because there were so many people, and it was really, really, sunny. (Blue skies...remember? Not a cloud in the sky) Whew, but praise God for ice water!

Almost there. Here's Cardinal Godfried Danneels, and some of the bishops who came (there were 13 all in all, btw)

Iolani palace all dressed up for the very special event!!

There were LOTS of people waiting at Iolani palace. Of course, no one really went inside (we're not allowed :P ) but before certain people went (including the relic), there were several talks/speeches and a couple of hula dances in honor of St. Damien. Even a Hawaiian princess was there!

Our Lt. Duke Aiona. His speech was really nice. Did you know that his son is in the seminary? :)

Okay, back to the Cathedral! Here's the place where the relic will be held permanently!

After the procession back to the Cathedral (this time it was much easier - we were in the shade this time, and it only took 30min. to get back!) we made it just in time for the Evening Prayer. By this time, it was already 5:00pm. I think a lot of the bishops were too tired to go on, that's why I didn't see them there... :) But the Cardinal was still there! Poor guy, he must've been extremely tired!

Evening Prayers.... and then the Bishop went ahead and blessed the shrine where the relic would be held.

And here's the relic!

Now...hopefully I will have that part 2 St. Damien post soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009


*gasp* It's Friday the 13th!!!!

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way let's get back to what I was going to say about my absence...


Yes...I haven't posted anything for a while. I've been sick with this cold that hasn't gone away yet :P
I still have to post the 2nd part of St. Damien that I promised, and all about the relic procession that took place on Nov 1st. I'm still sick, and my laptop isn't functioning properly (I've been borrowing either my mom's or older sister's) but hopefully I'll have those up by next week...
Hope everyone's having a blessed Fall and month of November!
Mahalo everyone who wished me a happy birthday :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Relic of St. Damien!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope to post more about the event...but for now, I am unable to.

...........But here's the pic I promised!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Mass, procession, and evening prayers were very beautiful. I got to be in the front of the procession itself (yes, the front front FRONT :P ), pass by the relic several times, and sit by another 'secret relic' :) It was the best birthday gift from God & St. Damien...

St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

St. Damien relic...

...or soon to be here anyway! :)

Yes! So this is where the relic of St. Damien will be placed on Sunday!! (Nov 1st!) I'm sooo excited, but super nervous at the same time... I heard that there will be at least 1200 people coming to the celebration! There will be 13 Bishops, plus a cardinal concelebrating at the 12noon Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace tomorrow. After Mass, there will be a procession of the relic of St. Damien (which is, btw, the heel...) to Iolani palace, then back to the Cathedral, where it will be placed in that box permanently. ^_^
I've always been sort of 'envious' of other historical churches that have relics, but now that my parish is has one, I'm sooo sooo happy and excited!! (yeah, I'm a great fan of the heroes of God XD )

The Cathedral has been having construction working lately... so there's been some (I mean a lot) of changes; the lights been changed, almost everything was repainted, and the screen and carpet of the Sanctuary was replaced. It's awesome to see the beautiful work done.

I will be helping out during the Mass, so I don't think I'll be able to take pictures, unfortunately... but I promise I will try :) I'll take a pic of the relic (which will probably be in an box too) and post it here. I think I will be participating in the procession as well, so... I'll do my best! Hopefully I'll be able to post aaalll about it the day after! :D

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

St. Damien of Molokai - Saint of Hawaii!! ^_^ (part1)


"I find myself to be the happiest missionary in the world..." -St. Damien of Molokai

Okay, so obviously he's on the list of my favorite saints (which, btw, is pretty long...;) ) So...I'm warning you now, this is one loooonnng post!! So I've decided to do 2 parts for this post.

Alright... I know some of my readers would be thinking something like: "Huh? Who's that guy again...?" and "How in the world could he feel like he's the happiest missionary in the world when he's like that?!..."
Weelll, he's not exactly one of those saints who was humble for a second, and some people immediately started adoring him for that, and there's all the fireworks going off after he went to heaven and stuff like that... Uh no, he wasn't like that at all. In a way, maybe.

If you've never been to Hawaii before, and never know what it's like, then you can read the next few paragraphs that might just help. :)
The rest of you, (if you know what exactly Hawaii is like and/or if you live here you can skip it :P :) )

First of all, even if there was fireworks and all that, I doubt anyone would be able to see it explode when it's in Hawaii. If you look on the map, Hawaii is just a bunch of little dots in a um, roundish line (kinda like those candy dot thingys :P :) )... IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. Seriously! Have you ever tried to google earth it? It's smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
(I remember always thinking that the island I live on is big, but on the plane ride to Boston, the words 'It's a small island after all' was just singing in my mind :P )
And no, it's not a deserted island where there's only two grocery stores and everywhere there's palm trees :) We actually have...4? I think? Costcos here.
Anyway, let's get back on track to when BEFORE Costco ever came. The thing is, I live on the island where the most population is and near the capital. So you get the idea and the image of all the tourists. :)
And of course, if you've looked up Hawaii on the map, there isn't just one island. Uh.. there's.....................ok, I admit it! I forget how many there are so I'm looking it up right now on Wikipedia :P During this intermission (lol) I thought it would be interesting to know that if you ever use Wikipedia, the word 'wiki' is actually a Hawaiian word meaning 'quick'.
Ok, got it! There's eight 'main islands'. You have the mainland, and we have the main islands. :P Here are their names (from left to right, if you have the map): Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. Don't bother trying to say them all at once if you can't (it's quite a tongue twister if you don't know how! :) ). Yep, if you noticed Hawai'i is called Hawai'i which is a apart of Hawaii itself, then yeah... It's confusing, but we islanders just call it the Big Island. As you have guessed, it's the biggest island. That's where the active volcano is. The rest of the HI islands don't have active volcanos. Ni'ihau isn't exactly a 'public' island either...which means it's not someplace where anyone can just vacation to (ever watched that episode of 'Lilo & Stitch where they say that Ni'ihau is a cursed island or something? ;) )

...OK, moving on.
Now, Molokai is the one you should imagine as deserted. Not COMPLETELY deserted, but deserted enough. Back then in St. Damien's day (19th century) whoever had leprosy in Hawaii, was banished to the island of Molokai. It served as a prison to those who were unfortunately struck with the worse illness of all. I'm pretty sure you know about leprosy, so I'm not going to explain it... just that it's a pretty old disease that it was even in the Bible days as well. It was pretty bad. Everyone who was suspected of having the slightest bit of leprosy or did have it, was torn away from their beloved family, friends, and homes. Everyone, as in EVERYONE. You name it; men, young women, and even children. Some families in Hawaii would hide any loved one who had leprosy, and guard the place with a gun, threatening to shoot anyone who would dare to arrest him/her to take to the horrible prison of Molokai. Being arrested and sent there was practically the worst death sentence you could ever think of. In fact, they'd rather have death itself than to be sent there.
Now, don't go thinking 'wow, ok, so they practically had the island all to no big deal, right? Just stay in the corner and pretend to be a hermit or something.' ...Sorry, no. :( It was worse than that. They didn't have the entire island to themselves, not even half or 1/4.
Here's a map of the island to get a better picture of it.

Okay, you see that little bump on the top of the island? That's where the leper colony was. Just that teeny-tiny piece of land. It's only three miles across, if I'm not mistaken. I don't have a better picture of it with me, but the lower part of it is cliffs. You can't really get out. The high mountains and cliffs serve as prison walls, and the only other place you can go to is the ocean. Rumors told that if you climb to the top of the steep cliffs you'd get shot. The lepers would rather face death then suffering. And there were more than just dozens of lepers there. Not all of them were well enough to walk around or play around either. Some of them just lay on mats on the ground, or in shacks made from the trees, or just by the ocean, just wanting to die already from everything they're suffering from. Others who were well enough to walk...were not so in a good place either. Yes, they were suffering, but think, any man, woman, or child who had leprosy was there. Some guys ran around hurting children and woman since there was nothing to do. Why shouldn't do these things anyway? Nobody cared about them. There was a motto of the leper colony: "Aole kanawai me keia wahi." Meaning, "In this place there is no law." Anyone could do anything. No one would stop them; the police can't do anything. The gun wasn't the worst fear, it was the disease. They'd gladly die than go through the effects of the disease. ...And the terrible thing was, the people could only see a priest once a year.
Once a year is clearly not enough to have Mass, confession, funerals, and all that, so that's where St. Damien comes in.

Think... Fr. Damien (Joseph de Veuster), was born and raised in Belgium (and if you look that up, it's practically on the other side of the world from Hawaii). He spoke Dutch (or was it Flemish?). Half of his sibings responded to God's calling (priesthood & religious life), and when it was his turn, there was the usual problem of him supposed to be inheriting the farm and his dad's job, and things like that. But after some time, he did enter the seminary (Sacred Hearts).
Hmm... yes, he did go off in the middle of the woods and pretend to be a hermit/saint, give his food to the bullies (& willingly, too), love hearing saint stories, and did his best to work at home, but... he wasn't exactly the top student at the seminary. If it wasn't for his older brother who helped him with his schoowork, then... And he wasn't very famous in Belgium either. He was 'just another seminarian trying to get through his studies'... He had a temper, but good thing God gave that to him otherwise I'm not sure how he could've survived in Moloka'i! He struggled with Latin, but with the grace of God, he was able to get through, barely.

Anyway, so the Sacred Hearts community hears about this news about the islands which is on the other side of the world. No, the superiors didn't pick young seminarian Joseph, but rather, his older brother. The future Fr. Damien wasn't ordained a priest at that time. ...Well, the thing is, his brother got sick with this terrible plague that was going through the area. Too weak to go, he was beginning to worry about his missionary trip to Hawaii. With a voluntary spirit, young seminarian Joseph asked to go take his place. There was a "...What?!" from his superiors. Joseph wasn't ordained yet. In fact, he was struggling with his Latin! They give a straight NO. But Joseph didn't give up. On fire with the holy zeal to work for Christ, he kept asking for this opportunity to go and live out this missionary life.

I always like to think about it in this, I'm not sure if this really was the case, but still... It's like Fr. Damien was avoiding his homework that he wanted to go halfway around the world to escape it's clutches or something :P

Anyway, of course in the end Joseph de Veuster got his way. ....Now, you can imagine the shock he got from his parents...Will they ever see their beloved son again...? But Joseph would carry his parents in his heart. He would bring their love with him to this, and share the fatherly love to the people of whoever he would meet.
Off he went to an unknown place, leaving his beloved mother, father, sibs, and home behind...
Now, if it were me, I'd be sick in the stomach at this decision. I wonder how he got the courage to volunteer himself and say, "I wanna go!!" to an unknown place and situation where he may never see his family again. Sometimes it goes that way too...we can't just sit around and wait for that call we imagine (the angels start blowin' their trumpets and you hear God's voice loud and clear... stuff like that) We need to jump and say "Take me! Take me!" Fr. Damien had that voluntary spirit, an excelent example for today's world. Hm...:) Because of Fr. Damien's example, if God's ever calling me to do something like that, I'd still probably be sick in the stomach... but instead of trembling with fear & worry, I'd be trembling with excitement 'cause God comes along with me!

So there he goes... taking not days, but weeks to get here to Hawaii. Storms came and went as the boat remained focused on gettin' to these islands in the middle of nowhere... I wonder if they got super seasick or anything...

But yes, with God's might protection, they got to Hawaii safely, after a tiring journey. They arrived at the island of Hawaii of O'ahu, in Honolulu. Here's a map so you don't have to check again...unless you have a better one. you might've guessed the one with the most population is O'ahu, and 'south-ish' red part is Honolulu. That's where the Cathedral where Fr. Damien was ordained. But it obviously wasn't this populated around his time.

Ever so joyfully, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, which is just a few blocks away from the sea. He was ordained in a strange place, a place where none of his family was, yet he was completely satisfied and delighted because there and everywhere he went to was where God was.

Now... you might think 'and here comes the part where he aids the lepers' ...right? No...he actually spent about 6 years in a parish in the Big island (the big island on the right). There, he prepared for the greatest challenge that God had planned for him... Moloka'i.

Like I said earlier, being sent to Molokai was the worst death sentence - worst than death itself. The Bishop took notice of the terrible circumstances there, so he decided to do something about it. Back in Honolulu, the Bishop and another priest gathered Fr. Damien and his Sacred Hearts community and talked to them about what was going on in Moloka'i. Now, the original plan was to pick five (or three?) priests to send to Moloka'i to take turns to aid the people for three (or five) months. And yes, again, Fr. Damien, with that volutary spirit of his, offered to go. Fr. Damien was the one chosen to establish a parish among the lepers.
Before leaving, the Bishop gave direct orders to Fr. Damien..."DON'T TOUCH THE LEPERS." They knew that if they did, they would surely catch the disease and be just as miserable as the rest of them. :(

So off Fr. Damien went, from Honolulu to Moloka'i by boat. He was shocked by how the people needed help... people where dying everywhere... A little girl came up to him one time and said she was so afraid of the wild pigs eating her body after she died. There was so much work to do. The church wasn't exactly all set up for him.
I love this part in the movie about him... when a young boy asks if he could be his altarserver, and Fr. Damien decides to shake the boy's hand. The boy gives him a '...What??' look but smiles as they shake hands.

...And so begins his mission :)
I'll post up a part 2 sometime... this time about what he did, and where Joseph Dutton & Mother Marianne comes in... ;)

PS~ On Nov 1st, All Saints' day, there will be a relic procession of St. Damien after the 12noon Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu. I am sooo excited about this! :D Hawaii will finally have a saint and an actual relic... Parts of the Cathedral have already been renovated, but I can't wait to see the result! I PROMISE I will post a pic of it as soon as possible!! (whenever possible comes... :P :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

St. Damien of Molokai canonization!!!!

...No. I didn't go to Rome :(

But whooo-hooooo!!!!!!! He's finally canonized as a saint!

I'm really really sorry I haven't updated as much as I planned to (I actually wanted to post something before the canonization date!). And this is going to be a short post, so...

How many of you out there stayed up (for us in HI we stayed up until 1:-- something in the morning) for the event?? I spent the night in a convent watching the whole thing... and it was awesome!!! Isn't Rome so beautiful! I'd like to go there sometime!

So I promise to post something about him and this month soon... don't know when, but I definitely will :)


Sunday, October 4, 2009

First few days of October...

I know, can you believe it's October already?!!? Time goes by way too fast!

Sorry I missed posting about St. Therese, the Guardian angels, and St. Francis!! I didn't even get to start a novena this year... I was too busy preparing the music for the Masses at my parish, since the choir director isn't here...
Ack, anyway...

St. Therese...Guardian angels...then St. Francis. Seems like those three days are to celebrate and/or think about being childlike. I mean, doesn't it sound like the Guardian Angel prayer is being said by a kid? And St. Therese, wow, she's like the patroness of how to become a saint in your daily life. Little sacrifices each day + lots of love in it x 2 = St. Therese's little way of getting to heaven as a child.
Remember, it's childlike, not childish (that would be just ridiculous :P )
Then the awesome & famous St. Francis... wait, famous?! I thought his goal was to be humble and childlike...?! Um, well, there's this weird joke I made up about St. Francis being the patron saint of our little brothers and sisters... because they can be animals and belong in a zoo. :P Though I suppose only the kids who are the oldest in the family would get it :)
You know how sometimes there's something so necessary in life that we don't realize it until we're lost without it? Like water, or faith, for example. Virtues, of course. And humility... the 'super power' to being childlike in our faith. We all need that ability. St. Francis was a pro at it amoung several who were 'not-so-good' at it, so... look at the results. He's like, one of the first saints that come to our mind when someone says the word 'saint'. But do we really follow his example in everything?
Back to St. Therese... We all know about her little way (mostly, anyway). Do you know someone who's 'humorous' in their own way that they even laugh at their own jokes, and only someone close to that person could get it? I defeintely know a person. She laughs at her own jokes all the time, and me & my sibs are left with this expression on our faces: O_o
I think she is that sort of person. Not exactly someone who laughs at his or her own jokes, but such a childlike person in Christ that they see the joy in all things. She saw the joy in making sacrifices. Her love and joy was twice as great than her sacrifices. Kinda like those "<" signs in math. Sacrifices (<) Love & joy for Christ
I think her love for Christ, shown in her sacrifices, was more important to Jesus than her actual sacrifice. If we do sacrifices with no meaning & offering it to Jesus at all, then that would be pretty lame, because that would be totally pointless. We might ask, "Why in the world did St. Therese do it that way??" She might answer, "Well, I saw that the way to heaven was like climbing a gigantic mountain, so big that I felt like a grain of sand... So I decided to take a little steps at the time." And sure enough, she got there.
Ever heard that little kid song, "Big steps, little feet?" Maybe not... but here's the lyrics:

I've got big steps, little feet
I've got big steps, little feet
I may be small, but HE live in me
I've got big steps little feet!

Yeah. We're all kids. Looking at the top of the pillars where the saints stand, it seems like it's totally impossible to get there too. (No, there's no elevator! :P ) (I like to think of it this way) But there is a way. St. Therese found the back stairwell. :P :) But here's the catch... it's one of those filled up jumpy-castle-little-kid-thingies where you've got crouch down, jump, run, and not look down. Our love for Jesus is the air in the jumpy-castle thing. Without the air, it gets harder, and so much enjoyable :( And Mary is like the mommmy who tells you where, what to do, and how to do it, so that you could go home already! You'd better pay attention to her!! :)

Anyway,You've got to crouch down - bring your pride dowwwnn. Jump, to reach out because God's up there, and we're obviously not tall enough - we know that! & run, just like St. Paul says (I just love that part of his letters! :) ). It's like a marathon, but you're still on the bouncy part of it. Yeah, who cares about who gets there first?! Just finish the thing!! :D Then not look down. Jesus said something similar about that too, in the Gospel a few days ago. "Whoever puts a hand on the plow and looks back, is not fitting for the Kingdom of Heaven."
You all know what happens we look down if we climb a ladder or something... scarryyy... 0_0 Yep! So that's what Jesus said. Don't look back. You might crash into something or fall down! All the kids know that.
...So yeah. That's my imaginitive version of St. Therese's little way. :)

Oh, and by the way... you need to wear socks on the 'jumpy castle' (little way to heaven). (Guardian angels :) ) They really help a lot, even though you may not realize it!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gospel Readings for Sunday...

I hope you were paying attention to the Gospel this Sunday (as of 9/27/09). Because I'm not going to post exactly what it was... :P :) Try to take a moment to remember. I'm not sure about everyone, but this might be one of those Readings that are kind of unforgettable. This also might be one of those Scripture passages that are hardest to talk about, define, and understand... (I've never really understood it either :P )


Did you remember? Or did you look it up... (Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48)

Actually, in a way, I can understand what John was feeling. Try to think of this: You're in a group (let's say, Bible Study group or something) that only consists of your friends and yourself. Then your little brother (or little sister) just has to tag along and listen too. Then (I bet you know how this feels) your friends start commenting how 'cute' he or she is to tag along and join in the meeting. He (or she) doesn't say much of anything, but it kind of bothers you that you had to bring him/her along to your own time with your friends. Then when it's your chance to say something, your little sib says it first, and immediately starts helping/contributing more to the group. Kind of annoying...? But what's so wrong about that? (ok, I think that was a ridiculous analogy :P )

Alright, moving forward....
Then Jesus comes along and says, after giving the answer that John and the others probably weren't expecting,
"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into hte sea..."
Whaat?? It's as if Jesus meant to say that right after that question he was asked by John. Maybe something was going through the minds of them...? Maybe someone was thinking about some idea to make that guy (who was driving out demons) make a mistake in his work. Who knows. But (isn't Jesus just absolutely brilliant? :) ) he made sure he said those words.
And then the scary/harsh/creepy/not-to-mention-scary part. Jesus is telling us how really really bad and ugly it is to sin. He's serious. But I don't think absolutely literally about what he said:
"...If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off... And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off... And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out...."
...Actually I imagine the people listening to those words had these faces on: 0_0 ?!?? "Huh?? Where'd that come from?!" was probably what was running through their heads.
Well, that's why Jesus added that other part when he said those words:
"...It is better for you to enter into life mained than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire... It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna... Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."
If the "cut off your hand if it causes you to sin or die" part was the only part that they seemed to hear and think about, than they're missing the entire point. Maybe I should've made "What in the world is Jesus saying this Sunday?" the title of this post. But he's saying what he's saying. Maybe he's talking about our hearts and to our hearts...

I can across this very interesting quote recently:
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me...'" (-Erma Bombeck)
Try to think of it in that way. Imagine this: when we get to heaven, I hope we'll be able to say - ...maybe in a exhausted voice because we worked so hard not to sin... weak from treading long and hard on that narrow road... because our shoulders and arms are sore and wounded from carrying our crosses... tears welling up in our eyes because of everything we gave up, what we're feeling, and everything we've faced in our journey with God... and our voices hoarse and our hands and feet worn out because we worked so hard to spread his Holy Word... even endured painful persecutions. We collapse at that glorious finish line St. Paul talked about, and Jesus is there to catch us and wipe our tears away, cradling us in His gentle arms - we can say, "I gave it everything I got. I did my best for you...just as you did for me."

Let's give Jesus all we've got, all to avoid going downhill and follow Him wherever he takes us... just as HE gave everything he got for us: HIS life and all HIS love.

Hope that made sense...

P.S. ...Could you do me a favor? Please go over to my older sister's blog and wish her a happy birthday in the comments box. Actually it was yesterday, but I could tell that this was one of the best birthdays she has ever had. :) She's reached an oollld age, just so you know... :P ;) jk

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

St. Clare of Assisi (feast of the finding of her body)

(picture) A fresco of 'Saint Clare and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary', Simone Martini, 1317, Cappella di San Martino, Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi, Italy

"Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me." - Saint Clare of Assisi

St. Clare is the patron saint of television... We might wonder why, um, because television didn't exactly exist back then (1194-1253). Maybe theater and plays did, but well, you get the point. There's a story that towards the end of her life she became so ill that she was not able to attend Mass. I don't know about you, but I know what kind of feeling that is. I really don't like missing Mass if I'm sick. Jesus doesn't care if you show up at his house sick - he looks into your heart, not whatever awful disease you have. St. Clare knew that. So after some prayer an image of the Mass would appear on the wall of her cell. Imagine that! I like to think it must've been beyond the HD effects and such. :) But thinking about in today's world... look how much is shown on actual television. Not all of it is the awesome 'better than HD' Mass that St. Clare saw on God's television for her. I wonder what St. Clare would say about television, which she is the patroness of. (I bet she'd love EWTN like my grandma does! She watches it aalll night) It's interesting to think that some of us are looking forward to weird things that show on TV, while St. Clare was looking SO much forward to Mass, like it was the only thing that mattered to her. I don't think she would care much for those other stuff...
So what about us? What are we seeing on television? Maybe we should look up to St. Clare, who only wanted to see Jesus, while we might be seeing things that are not of Jesus. She didn't care about the awful illness that got in the way of going to Mass, (she didn't exactly lie down in bed and do nothing about not going to Mass) all she wanted was Jesus (This time Jesus came to her :) ) Let's put aside our ill desires and seek only Jesus, like St. Clare did.

pic source

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yikes! I know I said I was going to post up some Catholic stuff more frequently, but...:P
Anyway, here's something I thought I'd share...
I'm not sure if you noticed, but earlier this year the Daughters of St. Paul website wasn't working - it was under construction. And, before it was finished, I was at Boston for the St. Paul Summer Program. I even got to meet one of the Sisters who was making the website! It's actually finished (kinda still under construction too, so..)

It's really cool. Please pay a visit - even scroll down for links to a videos of one of their Jubilee celebrations!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sts. Monica and Augustine

"Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled." - Saint Monica, about the conversion of Augustine

"What do you possess if you possess not God?" - Saint Augustine

Prayer to Saint Monica
Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray. Amen.

"O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced “the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever.” He was calling me and saying: “I am the way of truth, I am the life.” Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace." - from the Confessions of Saint Augustine

I would recommend reading "Restless Flame" By Louis de Wohl to read about St. Augustine if you haven't read his Confessions yet. (it also makes a good preparation :) )


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

St. Adrian of Nicomedia

Not very well-known, but was martyred in year 304. Long time ago... Anyway, he was a pagan officer and body guard at the imperial court in Nicomedia. So you can imagine what he witnessed there. He was so impressed by the faith of the persecuted Christians, that he declared himself a Christian, even though he was not baptized at the moment. Immediately, he was arrested and tortured. In prison, he was tended by his wife (St. Natalia), who (not too sure about this) arranged for his intruction in the faith, until they were finally executed.

Maybe if we actually concentrated during Mass, we'll be able to experience the same inspiration St. Adrian did when he stood around in the courts, seeing that the Christians were more than willing to die for their belief in Jesus. Aren't we impressed by devotion of the people who serve at Mass? What about the priest? By their devotion and faith in Christ, don't they seem to be ready to die for their faith?

image & info source

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blogging update...again

Okay... I'm going to try to make a few changes again. You've might've noticed that I've added a blog motto "Not your average Catholic teenager." That's because I'm planning to post more things... Though here's a quick question to my readers: Do you have a hard time reading this because of the colors of this template? (I'm thinking of changing the template colors to lighter ones)

Let me know what you think of the new Blogger Header, by the way! :) I've been working on it, (yes, I designed it with my own mechanical pencil - don't have photoshop on this computer :P ) but unfortunately, the last 's' of Spritus got cut off while I was scanning the picture. (nooo)

Here's a few things that I've been into lately: (pic)

As well as two other styles of drawings and helping with Mom's book (more on that later...), and of course, highschool. We're slowly getting back to our 'regular school schedule' but Cy and I have been spending a lot more time on the computer lately to help mom with her book. Being homeschooled is sweet, but it can be confusing. I'm also preparing for a SAT test...:(

Again, I'm really hoping to do more blogging... I miss writing about the Saints, but I don't think I can really get back to doing that - instead, I hope I'll be able to write a bit about the life of the Saint for the day, and a bit of reflections (at least, that's what I'm hoping to do :) ).

Also, you've might've noticed that I put up the 'comment moderation' fence in the comment box. I thought it might be better (not to mention safer) to do it that way. You can still comment - I do appreciate your imput and what you think!

One more thing... I've added another poll to the sidebar. Hope you don't mind, but could you please vote? I'd like to know who's reading this blog, even if you don't comment, that's alright. Thanks :D

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

St. Paul Summer Program essay - "Impelled by Love"

I have a very bad habit of disappearing. :P One of these days I'll come up with a much more convincing excuse than the one I can only think of right now: busy.

Anyway, shortly after coming back from Boston one of the Sisters from the Pauline Bookcenter asked me to do a report on the trip! Although, it's more like an essay now...(it got up to ten pages on MS!) I had so much fun doing this and sort of got carried away :) I know the title probably doesn't make any sense, but there's kind of a story behind it: One of the Sisters mispelled "Impels" because "The Love of Christ Impels us" was the theme of the week. So after she made it "Impells", we were all saying that it kind of like 'impelllls' :) Like His love was really drawing us closer to him!! :D And, you don't have to read this if you don't want to. So, if you think this is boring by the first few paragraphs already, I don't blame you because I'm not much of a good writer :P I can only think up stories, but not how to write them as well. I also had a deadline, so this was kind of rushed so...... This is basically what we did that week at the Daughters of St. Paul Motherhouse in Boston, (not counting Saturday because that wasn't exactly part of the program) just a little more detailed than what I've wrote on the previous posts of our trip. No pics, but you can always scroll down. Again, I was half awake when I wrote the first part of our trip, so this probably makes more sense.

St. Paul Summer Program essay - "Impelled by Love"

Looking back, and even if was just a few weeks ago, the week still brings a smile and a laugh. Even if it did seem like a dream, and if it was, it’s the best dream I’ve ever had. I traveled from Hawaii, home, to Boston MA for the St. Paul Summer Program. I’d only heard about and seen pictures of the place, the Daughters of St. Paul Motherhouse, and only heard stories about the St. Paul Summer Program from another participant. So I was so excited when I found out that I would be going in July. It all happened so fast – too good to be true!
It would be the farthest I’ve traveled from home, but somehow I felt certain that God would be leading the way, so what had I to worry about? …I worried anyway. It was more like a nervous/excited sort of feeling. What were we (Cy and I) going to experience at the St. Paul Summer Program? What’s the place like? What’s going to happen?? What if we don’t make it there ok? During the flight and the travel to Boston these questions and many more bounced in my mind. But I had a good feeling that everything was going to be ok. God wouldn’t lead us to a dead end after those two months of waiting. Duh.
Of course, in the end we made it safely to Boston. We actually arrived almost thirty minutes early! My breath was nearly taken away as I finally beheld the sight of the Motherhouse. It was a relief, I have to admit, to finally be rid of the airport and reach our destination. We made it safely to Boston! Praise God! Again, I’ve only seen pictures of this place, so excitement and great elation seized me. Since Cy and I were half asleep when meeting with the other Sisters when we got there, we spent most of that day resting in the end. Even if I did feel a little ill the first day we got there, the following day – the day the program would start – I tried my best to stay awake.
Monday would be the day all the girls would arrive. Cy, another girl, and I went to help Sr. Maria Grace proof-read a story in the morning. That was a very fun and interesting experience. We also made a banner of our theme for the week. Later in the day we met with the other girls who arrived (there were 8 all in all), and started the program with a Visit with Jesus! What better way to start it with a holy hour of Adoration to him? Then we met several Sisters – including the postulants – and took a walk around the Motherhouse!

I couldn’t wait for the program to start – and finally it did! I looked forward to each day, but at the same time I wanted each to last as long as possible. Waking up early seemed like a challenge for us, since it would be 12:00 am HI time when we would get up from bed. It was worth it, of course. Despite being half awake in the morning we would always be just in time for Morning Prayer and Mass. After breakfast we would help out in the kitchen. I never thought drying dishes could be so fun, especially with the good company! After that, we would gather at the assembly hall for morning stretches (kind of like exercising) led by one of the participants and one morning by Sr. Carmen Christi. We would always have an hour of adoration each day of the week, and even though I almost fell asleep on one occasion, I still loved it.
At each meal it felt like a party! All the Sisters are so friendly and welcoming. At each table there was a different conversation and so much laughter could be heard! Everyone knew each other, and if some of them didn’t, they would get to know each other and treat each other like sister Sisters. ‘It’s like a family,’ I thought with a smile, ‘But a different kind of family…’ I really liked that. It made me feel really comfortable with them, and it’s probably one of the main reasons I didn’t feel homesick.
We ended each day with Lectio Divina, kind of like praying with the scriptures for the next day, to prepare us for tomorrow’s Mass. I liked that, especially because I would be only half-awake for the morning prayers and Mass.

The first class – an introduction to the Pauline religious life – was amazing! What really was my favorite part (or the part that struck me the most – I liked the whole thing!) is how they explained the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. I never really thought about it the way they did. (it wasn’t exactly said like this, but similar) Poverty is ‘I love you Jesus above all things,’ chastity is ‘I love you Jesus above all peoples,’ and obedience is ‘I love you Jesus above everything, even above my own will.’ The way Sr. Margaret Michael said it, it felt like… I don’t know how to put it in words, but I loved it.
Sr. Diane Leonard, one of the Sisters who picked me and Cy up from the airport, gave a brief history lesson in the ‘historic room’ where there were several of the old items which the first Sisters brought from Italy to America. She talked about how it all began; the Pauline Mission in the USA. Then Sr. Jennifer gave us an amazing tour of the Publishing House, as well as the recording studio in the basement where they make their CDs! The tour was wonderful. It was really nice to hear what kind of work the Sisters did, and how.
Before we would have our class about Mother Thecla, Sr. Margaret Michael said, ‘You’re going to see Mother Thecla come alive, really!’ At first I thought, ‘Oh, we’re going to see that movie about her again?’ But it wasn’t. ‘Whenever Sr. teaches the class about Mother Thecla, she always comes out so alive to me!’ Sr. Margaret Michael continued. I didn’t understand, but then she ended with a ‘You’ll see.’ Sr. Carmen Christi taught the class, and then I saw what Sr. Margaret Michael meant. The way Sr. Carmen Christi taught the class about Mother Thecla – the way she described her as ‘in tune with the Spirit’ – she really did seem to come alive! She seemed like a really real person. ‘She was like a mother who really really cared for her daughters!’ I thought with elation. I’ve read the book, Thecla Merlo Messenger of the Good News before, and now, after that class it feels like everything she did and what the book says about her comes to real life. I can play the historical events in my head so clearly!
Some time after that, we did ‘praying with the news’. We watched a few things on the news; mostly about Michael Jackson’s death and funeral, and several other accidents and incidents that took place. Then we prayed for those people. It felt nice to pray for those people, and somehow after watching those terrible things happening on television it seemed like everything was going to be okay once we prayed for them.
After supper we had recreation. Some of us played a game called ‘pit’ and some of us played pictionary! It was really fun, and we had lots of laughs. It was a nice way to end the day, before Lectio Divina.
(Wednesday) After our usual activities we started on our Writing Track which Sr. Maria Grace led. It was almost like a writing class, except to me it was a lot more enjoyable than previous classes I’ve had. She talked about how important grammar was in a fun way, challenged us to think up a character using the ‘character maker sheets’, and let us write little bits and pieces of stories that depicted scenes and pictures. She encouraged us to write our stories based on the characters we thought up. So each of us are writing our stories now!
That day I had the ‘walk and talk’ with Sr. Margaret Michael. It was nice to both walk and talk at the same time, because the outdoors was so nice. I heard that it was rainy before we arrived, so we took advantage of the nice weather and walked around the Motherhouse. Usually I would be speechless when talking with another person whom I didn’t really know, but for some reason, I felt really comfortable… a lot more comfortable than I would usually be, anyway. At the thought of the walk and talk I was kind of scared, but I got through with a happy feeling in the end. In fact, I wished it had been longer!
Our writing track continued and the day ended with a movie. We took our dinner to the assembly hall and we all watched Little Women. I was surprised that I really liked it. Most of the girls had read the book by Louise May Alcott, and I never had, so it motivated me to read the book once I got home (and yes, I’m still reading it up to now). Our writing track would officially end on Friday, the day we were to visit the Orchard House, the house of the author of Little Women. It was hard to believe that it was already Wednesday night. We all were very sad that the program was already half finished!
Thursday was the Art Track day led by Sr. Tracey. We studied a painting of the Annunciation. Mary was sitting on her bed, her hands folded, quietly contemplating and listening to the angel, who was nothing but a beam of light. We answered some questions and told Sr. Tracey what we thought about the person and objects in the picture; of her expression, the room, the objects in the room, and the colors. After learning much in the art track I don’t think I could ever see a painting in the same way as before.
Then we had Confession, then lunch. Right after that we left for the Art Museum (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum). There, Sr. Tracey gave us sheets with questions to fill out about a painting we would find there that struck us the most. I didn’t find one that I really liked, though I would have chosen Remembrandt’s painting of the scene where Jesus would calm the storm on the sea, if it weren’t stolen. Instead, I was awestruck by the architecture and the designs on the walls and pillars. So in the end, I didn’t choose a painting. But I was happy with my choice. To me, it felt like walking through something like Cair Paravel from Narnia!
After arriving back at the Motherhouse, Sr. Tracey let us all think of ourselves as a vessel, just as Mary was…. Then we had to sculpt our image of a vessel for Jesus. Some of us made pots, vases, a candle holder, and even a box. I was aiming for a vase or something, but I ended up making a basket. Sr. Tracey said that our vessels could hold the Word of God in it, so I quickly sculpted a small scroll or piece of paper that said ‘I am the Way, Truth, Life,’ and stuck it inside the basket with a few roses.
While our vessels were baking, we shared all about the paintings that we chose. Cy pulled out a postcard of the painting of Remembrandt and gave it to me once I mentioned that missing painting. That would’ve been my choice, so I shared a little about it.
Then, after some playing on the piano and music, we continued on our sculpture projects, which were now baked. We painted and varnished them, something that was a lot harder than we thought it was, but we were able to do it.
Right after supper, Sr. Christina led the Media Night. She taught about how media can really be used to evangelize, and how it is already teaching other false information. She also said how much the media affects our lives and other people’s lives. Sr. Christina also showed an alphabet that consisted of the letters of the logos and names of other products (eg: Oreos, Lysol, Reeses…), and we all recognized most of them. She even gave an analogy about the media, how some things can be false, and some times it can be right. Like in the Wizard of Oz, the wizard was told to be a powerful one and looked like one, but when the curtains were drawn, all they saw was a little man moving the controls. She also showed us a clip of the movie Spiderman 2, when Peter was going to abandon his responsibilities and his powers so that he could live his own life. Sr. Christine said and encouraged us to use our talents to help spread the Gospel through the media. It was a very fun (and some parts funny) night!
Friday was the last day of the program. The other girls and I were really sad that it was going to end soon, but the Sisters would always say that the last day was always the best day. We didn’t understand how the last day could be the best day until later on… After the usual Morning Prayer, Mass, breakfast and helping out in the kitchen, we went back to the Assembly hall and finished up our projects (sculpture of our vessels). One of the participants played the guitar while Cy and two girls sang praises to God. A little while later I played a bittersweet song on the piano, a song that now always reminds me of that grand time we spent at the Motherhouse.
Then our mini-retreat began. We observed silence for about three hours, and walked outside a bit on our little ‘date with Jesus.’ It wasn’t as hard as we’d thought; some of us thought we could go on for more than three hours! It was so peaceful and quiet outside, and I found a little spot to sit on the stair steps leading to the chapel, and also next to some flowers. Then I took out my journal and wrote away.
What aspect of creation was I attracted to? What was I noticing about it that day? I loved the sound and sight of the trees swaying in the gentle wind, and the distant chirping of the birds. It was a lot like home (save the rotten mango smell :P ) except… different now. To me it was amazing how one could be so busy with God’s work, but then once she stepped outside, she could hear the sweet silence and see the magnificent works of God. I thought about the whole world, and I hadn’t realized it was this gigantic (I live in Hawaii; I never knew! :-P ). I traveled across the whole US plus across the Pacific Ocean. Still, God is truly there, and here, and everywhere! I remembered the time in the airport when I was asking myself so many questions and being so nervous. Why was I being nervous? God is here! …What was God’s presence like? Like the still small voice in the readings. If only I could pause and be silent for a moment, I’ll be able to hear him with the ears of my heart. But if I keep myself busy with something else, something that would block out the noise of God’s voice in my life, well then…:-P …I guess a part of Psalm 23 could sum up what happened while I was in prayer; “In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side…”
After that time outside, we were called back to gather in the small chapel on the 2nd floor. We prayed and shared what we experienced, and also answered briefly to the questions we were given (What aspect of creation was I attracted to? What was God’s presence like?...). That was our hour of adoration, too. Then we were off to lunch, then our outing!
Our writing track officially ended with the outing at the Orchard House, Louise May Alcott’s house. We got to learn about her family more, and we could tell a lot from her life that it was similar to the book/movie. Her little sister, May (Amy in the book and movie) was quite an artist. She even drew and painted on the walls; her father gave her permission to, as long as her skills improved and drew nicely. So it was almost like a continuation of the art track as well! After touring the whole house, we shopped a bit at the gift shop. The place was amazing! Then, after everyone gathered, we took a group photo, and then we were off to get some icecream!
I forget what the place was called, but I think it was ‘Bedford something icecream.’ We ate our icecreams and had lots of fun! Perfect for a summer day. The sizes were so huge it was hard to believe that it was just a kiddie cone size! After that, we hurried off to the Pauline Books and Media Center in Dedham. On the ways we talked story and had many good laughs with each other. We spend a little more than thirty minutes at the Bookcenter. Since several of the girls didn’t live close by them, they took advantage of this time. Cy and I spent our time wandering around, and we noticed that this Bookcenter almost had a different variety than the one we live close by to. So we looked around and then snuck in the small chapel to thank Jesus for the wonderful day we’d had, and the entire week.
We made it back to the convent in time to catch a bit of the Evening Prayer time. Then we had our supper, and invited some of the Sisters to join us in the assembly hall for one last recreational night, and our final group gathering. We also got to see the Junior Professed Sisters that night, and they joined us in our gathering. While Sr. Margaret Michael left to go ‘do something’ Sr. Tracey led us in a game called “Pterodactyl.” We all sat in a circle and we all had to say “pterodactyl” without showing our teeth. To change directions one of us would squawk loudly, still without showing our teeth. It was very hard to do that, and some of us started laughing so hard that tears came out of our eyes! I’m glad though, that I was one of the first people to be out; I got to record a nice and funny video of the group playing the game! We all had such a fun time! :D
Then Sr. Margaret Michael came back and we all got to see a slideshow of our entire week from a projector. It was so nice! It made me really really wish that the week was longer…or we could go back in time and start all over again because it was so much fun! Then came the ‘solemn moment’… Sr. Margaret Michael and Sr. Maria Grace called out our names and gave us St. Paul Summer Program Awards! There was the ‘Big Sister Award’, the ‘Gentle Surprise Award’, the ‘Brown Bread Roll Award’ (there are a lot of stories behind these names…) ‘Quiet Humor Award’, ‘Joyful Boot Award’, ‘Dedicated Writer Award’, ‘Meticulous Artist Award’ (Cy) and the ‘Musical Accompanist Award’, which I got for playing that bittersweet song on the piano all over again and over again. We also received a book called, “Life for the World” written by one of the Sisters, and a small image of St. Paul .
Afterwards, we shared a bit about our vessels that we made, now finished (mine was a basket, simple yet helpful, I guess, with the words “I AM THE WAY, TRUTH, LIFE,” inside of it, with some roses. I guess you could call them symbols of love for God’s Word.). Then we explained why we got such funny names for our awards we received. Then, while Sr. Margaret Michael ran up to get something, the participants and the Sisters asked me to play that bittersweet song on the piano again. I did so, but I nearly cried, knowing that this would probably be the last time I would play this song for these wonderful people. I held my tears back of course, reminding myself that this wasn’t the last day (we were leaving on Sunday). Everytime I play that piece I feel like reminiscing about that beautiful time we had together that whole week, especially that day. Then Sr. Margaret Michael came back with her ‘rapping shoes’, and gave us a little rap! It was so nice! I was able to record the first part of it, but unfortunately that’s when the memory got full. I was wondering when it would get full since I was taking so many pictures… I guess I got my answer.
Right before the final group photo (all eight of us participants, including the graduates of the St. Paul Summer Program), I was able to delete a few unnecessary pictures on the camera real quick. One of the Sisters asked me if I needed help and took the camera after I was finished with it to take pictures. Then we all had a group hug! Some of the participants felt like crying, and some of us even said our good-byes to the Sisters. I got the camera back, but I still didn’t know what to do since the memory was full. Then another one of the Sisters said she could take the memory card and put the pictures into CDs! The Sisters are sooo sweet! They are like a family! :D After several of the Sisters left, all eight of us and Sr. Margaret Michael and Sr. Tracey helped us compose a thank you letter to the Sisters. Most of us said thanks for the prayers, and I even added “Mahalo nui loa!” (that’s kind of like ‘thank you very much’ in Hawaiian). Sr. Margaret Michael then announced that we could sleep a little later, and then sleep in a bit the next day since everything was half an hour later for Saturday. We were all very thankful and happy that night, and we agreed that the last day was like the grand finale to the week.
The next day we were able to sleep in a bit. We made it just in time for the Morning Prayer and Mass. One of the participants had to leave right after Mass to catch the train with her aunt, so we said our good-byes real fast. During breakfast time we went up to the microphone and said a general goodbye to the Sisters present at that time. Then after help in the kitchen, we all did a cleanup on the third floor! It was tiring, but fun. During the rest of the day we said goodbye to all the girls except another one who would leave on Monday. It was sad for us, but we were able to exchange email addresses so that we could keep in touch with each other. Later in the day Cy and I went with Sr. Margaret Timothy around downtown Boston! That was so cool! :D After getting back to the convent just in time for supper (and had awesome cupcakes made by one of the participants and her sister!), we went over to the dinette on the first floor and watched Sense and Sensibility with a few of the Sisters and another postulant. It was a nice movie, but I almost fell asleep (not because it was boring, just because I was tired). It was sad for Cy and I that this was the very last day. So we packed up a bit for tomorrow…Sunday.
We had already attended Saturday afternoon Mass so that we could make it in time for our flight. Right before we went over to the dining room, Cy and I stopped by the Chapel for a last and quick Visit. Once more, We both thanked God for the wonderful time we had spent here. I almost burst into tears right there, but I didn’t want to cry, so I held it in. We both wished the week was longer. We then had our breakfast at 8:00, and we were able to take a photo with three of the Sisters who came to Hawaii. Then we said our goodbyes and thank you’s to Sr. Margaret Michael and Sr. Tracey, and to the other Sisters as well. Sr. Margaret Michael said, “Come back next year!” I responded, “Of course!” I really hope that we can go next year. I had such a fun time. This summer was the most memorable ever.
I felt like crying again as we said goodbye, so biting my lip, I decided not to say anything so that they wouldn’t find that my voice was breaking. I thought I was doing ok until… we got to the gate at the airport. Then the tears came pouring down… A flood of emotions seemed to wash over me as I recalled the fun and beautiful times of the entire week. I laughed at the same time, remembering the hilarious events that happened (like the Pterodactyl game, and the weird jokes!). Even after we boarded the plane we were still crying a bit. This was a little weird at first… why were we crying when we were going home?? I never felt homesick during the entire week. The Sisters felt like…well, older sisters to Cy and I too. It wasn’t until we landed in LA when we finally calmed down. Cy and I talked about our amazing experience, and how we loved it. We spent hours doing that! We both really missed the place, even if it was only a week we spent there.
Overall? I really enjoyed the trip!!!! It was the awesomest summer ever, and the most memorable summer as well. Why? Because…well…besides the fact we traveled all the way across the US … we spent a week at a convent, and we loved it. (yes, that sounds weird, but that’s ok, because I think I’m weird too). This experience took on a whole different perspective of religious life. (When the Sisters pray, they really pray, and when they play, they really play!) It was interesting to see so many Sisters at one time, since I’ve only seen a few at the Pauline Bookcenter. Their life, mission and spirituality… I’ve never thought about it that way! It was a super amazing experience – something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Our theme for the week was, “The Love of Christ Impells Us!” During the St. Paul Summer Program we really did feel His love draw us closer to him… and not only that, but also made us fall in love with Him all the more.

Ok, the end. :P

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Adventure part 2!

Yikes! Sorry I kind of disappeared for about three weeks, but here you go! I was sick for about a week, so...

Anyway, Saturday (July 11th) was the last day, and all the other girls (except Cy, and another girl and I) were scheduled to depart. It was a sad moment for us because we had sooo much fun and enjoyed the week so much we didn't want it to end. :-) We were able to exchange email addresses real quick, so now we keep in touch we each other. So we all said a general good-bye to all the Sisters Saturday morning, since almost everyone was leaving that day. After breakfast, we, as always, helped a bit in the kitchen, then helped with clean-up on the third floor (where our rooms were)! Since I can't dust, I was in charge of sweeping the living room, then helped Sr. Jerome (one of the Sisters that was assigned to Hawaii earlier this year) with making the beds, and then she taught us the 'Pauline Method of mopping'! It was tiring, but still fun, of course. Then Sr. Jerome, another girl and I went downstairs to get a quick drink of water before working in the St. Joseph Assembly Hall where we had most of our meetings and classes. While getting some water Sr. Jerome talked about the Mary Queen of Apostles statue that we've been seeing in the convent. I don't have a picture of the statue that's in the chapel (which is really pretty, btw), but I have a pic of the one that's in the... um, I forget. It's either upstairs somewhere, or in the assembly hall....
Too bad I don't have a picture of the one in the Chapel though. That one is my absolute favorite statue of Mary! Sr. Jerome told us a bit about it, like that it's the only image of Mary where she is holding Christ out, since her mission is to give Christ to the world, and she was the first apostle of Christ (something like that). That other participant and I really liked it, and we decided then that Mary Queen of Apostles was our favorite Marian title. So after that we were off to clean the assembly hall until we had lunch... and then we all said goodbye to the remaining girls (except one other one)

Cy and I had free time after 2:00 (Boston time), so another Sister (Sr. Margaret Timothy, who was also assigned to Hawaii!) gave us a tour around downtown Boston! Here we go!

...And we passed by the State House!! That's gold on the top! (I must be pretty heavy) There are pictures with Cy and I in it, but unfortunately I won't be posting anyone's faces, so... :-P

And it's Paul Revere!! I must've read about him a million times in my schoolbooks, so it was really neat to see the places where he was! (and we saw his house too!) There is a church in the background, but the sky was so bright, it wasn't able to show on the camera... oh well. We also walked along part of the Freedom Trail, that leads to the historic places in Boston. It's really neat! kind of reminds me of "follow the red brick road" or something... :-)

And I'm pretty sure this is the St. Stephen Church. I could be wrong.... Anyway, when we went inside there was music playing, and guess what? It was the Daughters of St. Paul music!! That was interesting... Sister was like, "That's our music!" "I thought it sounded kind of familiar..." I said. It was from an older CD of theirs, but still, that was pretty funny...

And the Boston Public Library!!!! It's gigantic!! We didn't go in, but we could easily see from the outside that it was big. There's another connecting building too!

Borders!! It's huge! (we don't have that big stores in Hawaii...well, maybe we do, but that would probably be in the tourist area...)

Seeing all these colonial-style and victorian houses/apartments were really neat. I've noticed that just about all the houses I saw were really nice and big!! There was another difference I saw between the houses here in HI than the ones over there, but I forget what it was...

We took a walk through the Boston Public Gardens! It's so pretty! They had all kinds of different flowers - some I've never seen before. And...and we saw a squirrel!!

Okay, you're probably all wondering why I'm excited about a squirrel, but there aren't any in Hawaii! That was my first time seeing a squirrel (I know, sad, isn't it?), and I've only read about wildlife, but never really actually seen much of them. And I saw a deer and a hawk for the first time in real life too. Well, in Hawaii you see sea turtles aaallll the time and occasionally some whales jumping around in the water, and maybe if you're lucky some dolphins too. Oh, and octopus, nene, and sometimes sharks, monk seals, and definitely some mongoose.... :-P

And we saw a swan at the park too! There's another 'pond' that I don't really have a picture of, but it has a couple of fountains there, where kids play around the area like it's a water park. During the Winter, Sister told us, the water's frozen and it's used as an iceskating park.

Being around really tall buildings was interesting too... Even if I do live near the downtown area of HI, it's still really different and neat - It's not as big as Boston!

Okay, I think I'm running out of pics to show... after that, we kind of got stuck in traffic 'cause there was going to be a game at Fenway park that day. Fortunately, we managed to get back to the convent in time for dinner! We were a little late, but we were able to catch some of our friends and some of the Sisters we knew. After dinner (and dessert - some awesome cupcakes made by one of the remaining participants and her sister, who's a Daughter of St. Paul preparing for her final vows!) Then a little later we all gathered upstairs in the dinette and watched Sense and Sensibility (the one with Emma Thompson in it)! I almost fell asleep though (not that the movie was that boring, it was good!), it was a long day, but a fun day. But I'm glad I didn't go to sleep early - I wanted that day to last. Then we all said good night to each other, then everyone went to bed. The first thing I did was take my contacts off - I think I went over my limit of hours to wear them. Oh well.

Next day we woke up at 7:00, packed up our stuff, stripped the beds, then replaced them with fresh sheets. Kind of hard to believe that it was the day to leave... :-( We took our things downstairs then made a quick visit to the Chapel. I'm almost burst out in tears right there, but I bit my tongue and tried to hide it. On the way going out, one of the senior Sisters, Sr. Rita, hugged us and told to come back soon. I hope so. It was sooo much fun being with them!!!

Next we gathered in the breakfast room, where all the sisters we knew were waiting for us. We had a small breakfast together, and then with talked with each other on our remaining time there. We got to catch up with two junior professed Sisters there, Sr. Maria Kim and Sr. Emi Magnificat (who were also assigned to Hawaii some years back). It was nice to see them again! Then we took a group picture and said our last goodbyes. It was sad. :-( Hard to believe it was exactly a week ago, when we just arrived! Sr. Margaret Michael then said, "Come back next year!" (I hope so too!!!)

Then the airport....again. :-P Ugh... the flight going back to LA was kind of dreary, with all the clouds and nothing much to see. But towards the end it was actually nice. I still really missed Boston though. I spent most of the time listening to classical music and staring out the window, reminiscing already. When we got to LA we waited and ate a snack during our scheduled 2hr layover. Cy and I just kept on talking with each other our awesome experiences with them! We also (because sometimes we didn't sit at the same table) told each other stories that the Sisters shared with us, like their vocations stories. They were all so cool! We were informed of a delay, something about the flight attendants getting the plane ready and cleaned up. Anyway, we kept talking even after we boarded the plane, until we realized something wasn't right... the plane didn't take off. We were informed that there was something wrong with the cockpit, and that the warning lights were on. So back we went, to the gate and terminal. There was a person who was sitting beside us, worried that he might miss his connecting flight to Kona, and he couldn't speak English very well so... poor guy. So we helped him a bit and he was able to reschedule his flight. In the end, everyone with connecting flights to Kona or Maui missed their flights. The AA people made up for it and even gave everyone a free meal coupon. So I bought dinner and shared it with Cy. And yes... in the end our layover did end up being 7 hrs... again. :-P But once again it didn't seem like 7hrs. Cy and I just kept talking with each other, and we also kept in contact with our parents and two of our aunts. One of them, our aunt that lived in CA told us 'why not just ask the AA people if you can stay with me for a week?' then she went on about it... That would've been a really nice idea but right when she was talking about it, it was time to board the plane. There were groans of 'finally!' and one guy even said on the plane 'Oh good, we're only 5hrs late!' That resulted in a laugh around the area.

I was dead tired so I fell right asleep. It seemed like a never ending night, going from LA to HI in the dark. We arrived in HI safely (thank God!) around 11:45 pm.

Our week was filled with loads and tons of fun!! I loved the Visit with Jesus everyday (hour of adoration), and Mass too! Their life, mission, and spirituality is just totally amazing!!!! I really hope Cy and I can attend the program next year!! :D

To close friends 'n family: If you like, I can try to send you an album with several of our pictures of our trip. Just email me or my mom (and she can forward your email to me), so that I can send you the link.

(P.S. We saw the following Sister bloggers!!!)

postulants Emily & Sylwia, and we met the novices too

Sr. Anne Joan I didn't get to actually meet her, but I saw her.

Sr. Bridget Ellis Forgot to mention that we even got to see the recording studio!!

Sr. Margaret Charles btw, she also came to Hawaii and we had shave ice together with some of my siblings!

...And I think that's it... But just in case I missed anyone I'll be sure to include them here, too. Hope the rest of you guys have a great summer!!