"I envisioned a religious community whose structure would make possible a religious family rooted in a deep prayer life, enabling its members to work from an enlightened a contemplative perspective." – Mother Mary Gabriel, Foundress
At the very center of consecrated life is the Sister’s spiritual espousal with Christ. Just as married couples continue to deepen their intimacy and love over their lifetime, so also a Sister gives her life and heart primarily to striving for an ever-closer union with Christ. Our community does have an active apostolate, but our apostolic work must necessarily be born from our union with Christ and return back to it. Mother Mary Gabriel said, "We must be convinced that personal holiness is necessary in order to be an effective teacher of the Catholic Faith. It is not possible to teach the Catholic Faith without love, because charity is the greatest of God's commandments. This the Sisters must strive to understand and practice." Our love for Christ is nurtured through daily meditation on Divine Revelation and Church teaching and a deep, personal prayer life, both of which provide time to contemplate and grow in our understanding of God. We observe times of silence throughout the day, including some work periods and meals, to allow us to focus our attention more closely on God. As our spiritual life deepens, we become more conformed to Christ and our desires conformed to His. We grow to share more deeply in His desire for our eternal union with Him, and to lead others to the joy of this eternal union.
"Therefore, we teach, not in a way in which philosophy is taught,
but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach spiritual things spiritually." (1 Cor 2:13)
Born out of our contemplative spirit is a zeal for studying and teaching the Catholic Faith, whether this be through the retreats we host, a formal presentation at a parish, or by showing simple acts of kindness toward those we meet throughout the day. We are dedicated to studying Divine Revelation and Church doctrine so that we personally understand the teachings of the Church and Magisterium as the authority Christ left on earth and through which He continues to speak. Even so, sometimes it is not the knowledge gained from study through which we catechize so much as through the simple witness of lives joyfully dedicated to God, the wearing of the religious habit, and the charity with which we treat all people.
It is this unique blend of the contemplative spirit with dedication to study and teaching that enables us to bring the Faith to others most effectively. Our motto is "Veritas, Caritas, Maria" - "Truth, Charity, Mary" - signifying importance of having these attributes of God, in union with His Blessed Mother, in our efforts to renew the Catholic Faith.
"Always give priority to the daily Eucharistic celebration, whether it be a question of time reserved for the celebration or of the dignity, the recollection and the active participation which must characterize every Eucharistic celebration and edify those who occasionally attend. A religious community gives witness to its authenticity, its fervor, first of all by the manner in which it celebrates, venerates and receives the Body and Blood of the Lord."
- Pope St. John Paul II
The Sacred liturgy is the highest form of prayer the Church has to offer, the most efficacious of all prayers. It is only right that as such, and in order to give the greatest form of worship to God, that the faithful strive to make the Liturgy as beautiful as possible, and that no matter how we are called to serve the Lord, whether as priest, religious or the lay faithful, we truly offer a sacrifice of ourselves, our time, talents, and material resources for the honor of God. The Sacred Liturgy is also a means of inspiring the faithful to deeper interior recollection and prayer. "It is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, ‘the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ and it is through the liturgy, especially, that the faithful are allowed to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church...The liturgy daily builds up those who are in the Church, making of them a holy temple of the Lord, a dwelling place for God in the Spirit (cf. Eph 2:21-22) to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ (cf. Eph 4:13). At the same time it marvelously increases their power to preach Christ and thus show forth the Church, a sign lifted up to the nations (cf. Jn 11:12) to those who are outside, a sign under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together (cf. Jn 11:52) until there is one fold and one shepherd (cf. Jn 10:16)."
(Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium)
"By the Divine Office, Christ continues through His Church His priestly work of praising God and interceding for the salvation of the world." (Sacrosanctum Concilium) The Divine Office is called the Prayer of the Holy Spirit because it is primarily composed of the words of Sacred Scripture. Through this prayer, the Church is united to Christ the Bridegroom in offering to the Father a sacrifice of praise. With gratitude to God for so great a gift, we participate in the Divine Office with fervor and devotion.
We also frequently avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance. Through this Sacrament we experience the healing mercy of Jesus Christ, thereby participating in His Resurrection, which restores and strengthens us, leading to life everlasting.
"The unity of the hearts of Sts. Francis and Dominic in Jesus Christ and their loving devotion to His Immaculate Mother,
typify the unity, love and zeal that gave impetus to and sealed their friendship." - Mother Mary Gabriel, Foundress
The source of the spiritual lives of St. Francis and St. Dominic was the Holy Eucharist. Their personal sanctity, that of the members of their respective communities, and the inspiration their witness gave to others, was the result of their union with Christ through personal prayer in His Eucharistic Presence and participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In imitation of our Holy Fathers, we too rejoice that our God so desires to remain with His people that He conceived a way to enter into intimate communion with us through the Eucharist. As a community we begin our day with an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and return to His presence again and again throughout the day. Our retreats always encourage devotion to the Eucharist through daily Mass, exposition, benediction, and Eucharistic processions.
As St. Francis and St. Dominic grew in their likeness to Christ through communion with Him, Our Lord led them to a great love for His Immaculate Mother. Their appreciation for Our Blessed Mother’s God-given role in the salvation of the world led them to develop simple Marian devotions accessible to all. The Dominicans spread devotion to Our Blessed Mother through the Holy Rosary, a prayer beseeching Our Blessed Mother to intercede for us, that we may imitate the life of Christ, meditating upon the mysteries of His life, death, and resurrection. The Franciscans popularized devotion to Our Blessed Mother through Nativity scenes, the Stations of the Cross, and the Franciscan Crown Rosary. Our Lord has given us his mother for our own, and in her love and obedience to her Son, she will always lead us to greater union with Him. We strive to follow her example in holiness, seek her guidance in our struggles, and beg her intercession in our needs. Each day, we pray fifteen decades of the Holy Rosary together as a community. We actively promote the Holy Rosary, the Brown Scapular, First Saturday devotions, and consecration to Our Lady according to St. Louis de Montfort as a means of spiritual growth under Our Lady’s protection.
"The health, life and future of religious communities depends chiefly on the formation of their members."
– Constitutions, written by Mother Mary Gabriel
From her experience as a consecrated religious, Mother Mary Gabriel knew the necessity of having good formation of the Sisters and a strong community life as a firm foundation upon which the community is built. From the beginning, when a Sister enters the community, she begins classes for formation and education about the Catholic Faith, the spiritual life and what it means to be a consecrated religious. Personal growth in the spiritual life, however, cannot be learned in a classroom. It comes through being tested in the ordinary events of daily life as we pray, work, and recreate together. We are a religious family, all striving for the same goal: the perfection of charity. Community life purifies and stretches us, helping us to grow in the life of virtue, while acknowledging the unique gifts that each Sister brings to the community. The common life makes us more sensitive to the sins and imperfections that disfigure us, so that we can strive to be cleansed of them. This frees us to love as God does, unconditionally, with our own distinct and unique personality, producing the fruit of true joy.