Tuesday, December 1
Tuesday, November 24
November 18th : Preached this morning from the requiem by the Prior, Father Anderson - who on Saturday buried his own mother.+ Requiem MassThe Reverend Father Dom Francois de Feydeau de Saint-Christophe November 17, 2009For unto thy faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away: and the abode of this earthly sojourn being dissolved, an eternal dwelling is prepared in heaven (Preface of the Dead)Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;My very dear Brother Monks,The words just quoted from the Preface for the Requiem Mass express the Faith of the Church that shines in the face of the darkest trial that assails the human heart—that is to say the sad reality of death.Rooted in the Most Precious Blood and water that poured forth from the side of the Savior on Calvary, the Faith comes to our aid in this moment of sorrow, reminding us of Christ’s eternal victory over sin, the world and the “enemy death that shall be destroyed last, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet”. (I Cor. 15:26)Sharing in this same Faith and making it “earn interest” like the good servant of the parable, that great Theologian of the Little Way, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus of Lisieux gives us her particular insight into the reality of bodily death. As she neared her own end at the age of twenty-four this young Doctor of the Church made the boldest ofaffirmations: “I die not; I enter into life.” When a man or a woman--in particular a religious--comes to that crucial moment of the great passage to the other side of things, the truth comes forth without pretention. Saint Therese affirms her belief in eternal life, not in order simply to comfort us, but rather because it is the truth.Of course, the Saint of Lisieux did not mean to dismiss the possibility of Hell or Purgatory, but having made her great discovery concerning the Merciful Love of God, to which she consecrated herself as a victim of Divine Mercy, she simply was beyond doubting that the Judge of Heaven and Earth would forgive her every fault if she only remained small--very small--with the trust of a little child. And lest we be tempted to think that it was on her merits as a Carmelite nun that she felt so bold in presenting herself to the just Judge, she affirms categorically that she will appear before Him with “empty hands”, that is to say without the merits any good works to speak of--save her childlike confidence itself.Saint Therese liked to quote the line from that other great doctor of Carmel, Saint John of the Cross, who said that “on the evening of this life it is on love that we will be judged”. Although she felt quite incapable of performing the feats of asceticism that we so admire in the great Saints, she knew for a fact that there was immense love in her heart—better yet, she knew that her vocation was to be the love in the heart of her mother the Church.As we prepare to commit the mortal remains of a beloved monk to the earth, to that very earth from which the first man was taken, we do well not to forget the luminous path traced by so many saints—from Our Blessed Father Saint Benedict to Saint Therese of Lisieux--that have illumined the world and transfigured the experience of death. Above all we must not forget what Our Lord said about the need for the grain of wheat to die, in order that it not remain sterile but produce much fruit. If we cannot help feeling the bitter grief of seeing a father and brother stolen away from the visible plane of our existence, we must not act like the pagans of yesterday and today, who live without real love in this world and without hope for the next.May Our Lady of a Happy Dying, Notre-Dame du Bien Mourir, so venerated at Fontgombault Abbey, our mother-house in France, who manifestly helped our brother through the narrow passage of his last days, obtain for us all to die so well. Thus having followed the path of our monastic spirituality, in imitation of the Ecce, Fiat of the Virgin of Nazareth, may we all come to take our places in the eternal liturgical celebrations of Heaven in the presence of God and of the Lamb. Amen.
MEETING WITH ARTISTS
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Saturday, 21 November 2009l
Friday, November 20
PRAYER OF PETITION
This was a talk that one of the monks gave awhile ago to a group of young people who made a pilgrimage to Clear Creek Monastery on behalf of Father de Feydeau before his passing. The words are beautiful and even though it was not God's will that Fr. de Feydeau stay in this world with us I think the talk below put everything in perspective and gave all of us who love Fr. de Feydeau the right frame of mind during his illness. Thank you God for Father de Feydeau!
Thursday, November 19
The Requiem Mass and Funeral for the Rev. Father Dom Francois de Feydeau, subprior of Clear Creek Monastery, was held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Benedictine monastery located near Hulbert.
Father de Feydeau was a priest and monk of Our Lady of Fontgombault Abbey, France, of the Congregation of Solesmes, of the Order of St. Benedict. He was among the founding members of the Clear Creek Monastery. He died Nov. 15 at 57 and was in his 33rd year of monastic profession and 27th year of his priesthood. For some months, Father de Feydeau had suffered a brain tumor.
“May his soul and those of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God and the intersession of Our Lady, rest in peace, Father Philip Anderson, Clear Creek’s prior said in an email notifying Bishop Edward J. Slattery and the Diocese of Father de Feydeau’s death. Bishop Slattery was in Baltimore for the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Father François de Feydeau was born on March 16, 1953 to French parents of noble extraction living in Bizerte, Tunisia, where Mr. de Feydeau worked for a time as an engineer. The family later returned to France, where François grew up near the town of Versailles.
Always interested in sailing, he joined the French Sea Scouts and after preparatory school was admitted to the French Naval Academy, from which he graduated at the top of his class. Shortly after being commissioned an officer and sailing around the world in the Naval Academy ship the Jeanne d’Arc, he found himself free to pursue the vocation he had felt from a very early age and entered the novitiate of the Benedictine Abbey, Notre-Dame de Fontgombault.
He pronounced his perpetual vows as a monk in 1980 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1983. After having several important jobs at the abbey, including that of assistant novice-master, he was chosen to be among the founders of Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery, arriving in Oklahoma in August 1999.
At Clear Creek Father de Feydeau was named sub-prior, cellarer (in charge of the daily work of the monks and all business matters) and master of ceremonies. He later became master of the students and taught moral theology.
He also served as spiritual director for many of the monks. His capacity for work and exquisite charity amazed all who knew him, both inside and outside the monastery.
On May 21st Father de Feydeau was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. After many weeks of suffering during which he displayed the utmost patience and abandonment to God’s will, he rendered his soul to God early in the morning of Nov. 15th and was buried at the monastery on Nov. 17th.
Tuesday, November 17
Monday, November 16
On November 15, 2009, strengthened by the sacraments of our Holy Mother Church,
Dom Francois de FEYDEAU DE SAINT-CHRISTOPHE
a priest and monk of Our Lady of , of the Congregation of Solesmes, of the , rendered his soul to God in Our Lady of Clear Creek Priory.
He was in the 57th year of his age, the 33rd of his monastic profession, and the 27th of his priesthood.
May his soul and those of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God and the intercession of Our Lady, .
Thursday, November 12
Saturday, October 31
Thursday, October 15
Originally uploaded by mystical_rose84
I spent last weekend in Fontgombaultwhich is the mother house of Clear Creek Monastery. Not only was it amazingly beautiful but it was like being home again for me. I have some more pictures posted on flickr.
I went to the vespers of Saturday and then the low mass and the high mass on Sunday. I bought two small plates in their pottery shop and some good monk beer and chocolate at the small monastery shop. We stayed in one of the little guest cottages (st Pierre I think).
My trip back to Paris was not the most pleasant experience - I missed the train in tours and ended up not getting to Paris till around 10pm. I made it home safe but very exhausted.
Here is a video about Fontgombault. The video footage is great but if you want to understand the narration I hope you understand french (lol)
Wednesday, October 14
Thursday, October 8
Tuesday, October 6
I had a wonderful visit to Lisieux! I would love to dedicate more time to do a long post on the trip but since I am short of time I will at least post a few pictures. The top pic is the basilica of St. Therese which is at the top of a hill overlooking Lisieux (you can see it very well from the train station). The next picture is the inside of the basilica and the bottom pic is the sanctuary of the cript of the basilica. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 1
Tuesday, September 29
Sunday, September 27
Wednesday, September 23
I was surprised at 7am mass this morning (as St. Germain's in Le Chesnay) to see the collect, secret, and post-communion in honor of St. Padre Pio. As soon as I got home I jumped online to see the Clear Creek monastery liturgy for the day -- and saw that they also were celebrating Ember Wednesday with a memory of Padre Pio. Did a little more looking around and found this letter from Padre Pio to the Holy Father where he expresses his whole-hearted devotion to Holy Church and her vicar - I thought is was very beautiful and should be an inspiration for all children of Holy Mother Church. Blessed feast day!
San Giovanni Rotondo
September 12, 1968
I unite myself with my brothers and present at your feet my affectionate respect, all my devotion to your august person in an act of faith, love and obedience to the dignity of him whom you are representing on this earth. The Capuchin Order has always been in the first line in love, fidelity, obedience and devotion to the Holy See; I pray to God that it may remain thus and continue in its tradition of religious seriousness and austerity, evangelical poverty and faithful observance of the Rule and Constitution, certainly renewing itself in the vitality and in the inner spirit, according to the guides of the Second Vatican Council, in order to be always ready to attend to the necessities of Mother Church under the rule of your Holiness.
I know that your heart is suffering much these days in the interest of the Church, for the peace of the world, for the innumerable necessities of the people of the world, but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the high teaching that you, assisted by the Holy Spirit and in the name of God, are giving us. I offer you my prayers and daily sufferings as a small but sincere contribution on the part of the least of your sons in order that God may give you comfort with his Grace to follow the straight and painful way in the defense of eternal truth, which never changes with the passing of the years. Also, in the name of my spiritual children and the Prayer Groups, I thank you for your clear and decisive words that you especially pronounced in the last encyclical "Humanae Vitae"; and I reaffirm my faith, my unconditional obedience to your illuminated directions.
May God grant victory to the truth, peace to his Church, tranquility to the world, health and prosperity to your Holiness so that, once these fleeting doubts are dissipated, the Kingdom of God may triumph in all hearts, guided by your apostolic work as Supreme Pastor of all Christianity.
Prostrate at your feet, I beg you to bless me in the company of my brothers in religion, my spiritual children, the Prayer Groups, my sick ones and also to bless all our good endeavours which we are trying to fulfill under your protection in the name of Jesus.
P. Pio, Capuchin
Padre Pio letter to the Holy Father
Saturday, September 19
Tuesday, September 15
Tuesday, September 8
Originally uploaded by mystical_rose84
I spent most of Sunday gazing at the vast collections of art in the Louvre. The had an audio tour that was really helpful (though I wish it had more info on it). Here is a picture of me in front of the pyramid. You take stairs down into the pyramid and then you have three different directions you can go - and each one is bigger than any of the museums back at home! I enjoyed the old religious statues the most ... I took a lot of pictures. The roman marble statues were totally amazing. I want very much to go back with my sketch book and spend more time in one particular area. This time was just getting myself comfortable with the place and checking out what there was to see - and there was alot! Enjoy the pictures.
Friday, September 4
Thursday, August 20
Friday, August 14
Here is a video from this years pilgrimage. It was wonderful to watch and remember the good friends and the sore feet (lol). And interestingly enough - I am the girl to the far left in the picture above (before you press the play button).
Saturday, July 25
Saturday, July 11
Originally uploaded by mystical_rose84
We stopped by Mont San Michel for a few minutes on the way from Normandy to Britany. I certainly want to return and climb the mountain to the church - it looked so beautiful!
Monday, June 22
Saturday, June 20
Thank you for coming to pray with us for Fr. Subprior. Thank you for helping him and all of us with your prayer.
I thought it would be fitting to speak to you of the prayer of petition. We divide prayer into various types, but they all very linked in fact. When I ask for something I am glorifying God. When I adore Him, I am opening up to His graces. The Our Father is a list of petitions, but the first one is "May Thy Name be sanctified."
It was normal, with this personal God Who revealed Himself to them and acted in their lives, that the Israelites prayed a lot. The Old Testament is indeed full of prayer. There are some big scenes, such as Abraham intervening for the sinning cities that the Lord planned to destroy.
Moses is a major intercessory figure. We see him praying on the hill while the Israelites battle on the plain. He prays for the healing of his sister. And especially when he was up on Mt. Sinai, and the people began worshipping false gods, and God decided to destroy them, promising to raise up a new people, Moses "turned away His wrath."
David considered it part of his mission as king to represent and pray for His people. The prophets also officially prayed for the people. Elijah prayed to bring a child back to life etc. Of course the psalms are the main prayers, and they are largely made up of petitions. They are wonderful—simple, direct, spontaneous earnest ["help me! hear me! turn towards me! I'm afraid! simple.
Let me read you a little of Ps 24/1-7,16-22
Since you are on a pilgrimage, I might mention the series of psalms around 121 that were sung on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, for example 124/1-2; let me quote 131 also.
Our Lord gave a fair amount of teaching about the prayer of petition. There are especially the two rather amazing parables: the importunate widow whom the iniquitous judge did not want to help, but to get her off his back, he did what she wanted. Then the importunate friend in St Luke 11/5-8 Christ really insists on this certitude of help (verses 9-13),
He is not saying that God does not care for us, but that we must insist and persevere. He encourages us greatly. He wants us to storm Heaven and trust in our Father.
So the Christians went forward in this line. Paul always promises his prayers and asks his faithful to help him in his ministry by their prayer. And he says not to be anxious but put all our requests before the Lord: Phil 4/5.
Likewise all through the centuries. There are the famous intercessors— St Monica's years of praying for her wayward son, then
being heard beyond her wildest dreams. St Catherine of Siena's prayers to save her sons going to the execution. The rosary and Lepanto. And St Therese of the Child Jesus' "first child" who converted at the guillotine. And then all the miracles of healing from prayer.
So, the essential role of prayer of petition in our life is a fact. It remains mysterious. However one might ask two questions here to help us understand better:
1) we cannot change God, make Him change His mind. And when we pray Fiat voluntas tua--but of course His Will will be done. He is all powerful! And He loves this sinner more than I do, wants his good. He doesn't need our information as our Lord Himself told us: "don't speak a lot of your words, Your Father knows what you need before you ask." Mtt8/6
Certainly, God does not need our prayer but He wants it. He takes it into His providential designs. In His eternal plan He wants this or that good, but He also wants to work it out in time through this or that means, notably by prayer. Saints, so attuned to the Holy Ghost, know that when they want and pray for something intensely, it is because God wants to give it.
Prayer is thus one very fitting way for us to cooperate in His work. It is indeed fitting, for several reasons easy to see.
First it makes us turn to Him, take up contact with Him. Prayer helps us recognize that we are creatures, that we are not the masters of our life. It teaches us to be children, to rely on God. It helps us to desire more; it disposes us, it opens us up to His action.
It also links us to one another. We will see in Heaven all the little ties brought about by prayer, the graces we owe to one another. After WWII, Russia placed a puppet ruler over Poland. Cardinal Wyszynski hardly knew him but had always prayed for him. This man later lost favor and was called back to Moscow, and the Cardinal pretty much forgot about him. Then one night he had a dream and this man was calling out to him—"Cardinal Wyszynski, pray for me." The next day, the Cardinal read in the newspaper that the man had died during the night. That shows these mysterious and powerful ties woven by prayer.
2) Second question: why doesn't prayer seem to work as much as promised?
First, there is a certain hierarchy in prayer. Certain intentions are absolute—grace, salvation, conversion. Others are not absolutely necessary—I want to succeed in my exams, that is a good thing, but I can go to Heaven and be eternally happy without it. God might not hear me about my exams for some greater good.
Also, they say that we must distinguish between asking for self and another. When I ask I am already opening myself to God, but with another that person's free will intervenes. Nevertheless, no prayer is in vain. When I pray for someone God is going to help that person all the more. Then obviously it is not so simple. There are big intentions we must battle for—abortion, the conversion of our country, of the Jews, of the Muslims. Perhaps a St. Catherine of Siena could obtain that all alone, but for us it is a continual war.
Then there is the condition of perseverance— that was the very point of the parables of the importunate friend and widow. And we must indeed battle. When the disciples could not exorcise a demon, Christ told them such demons can't be expelled except through prayer and fasting. So it's not so easy.
There are also dispositions we must bring to prayer if we are to be heard. Faith, first of all. Our Lord pushed away the Canaanite woman harshly, yet she persevered and He praised her for her faith. The parable about the publican, a public sinner who was heard instead of the pharisee who obeyed the law, teaches about the necessary humility to address God. We also must do God's will. St. John tells us we are heard in our prayer, "because we do what pleases God." [Jn 3/22] James likewise: James 1/5-8. And he encourages us with the fact that Elijah was heard, but because he was a righteous man. We all realize we ask holy people to pray for us. It's not those who say Lord Lord who will be heard but those who do the Father's will.
Also we must be reconciled with our brethren. Our Lord tells us to leave our offering there and go be reconciled with a brother who has something against you; then you can make the offering. And in the Our Father, we ask to have our sins forgiven but our Lord tells us we must forgive others if we are going to be forgiven.
Finally, we have to work too, on our side. While Moses prayed the army really fought. If I want to succeed in the exams I have to study too.
Prayer is a trial of faith. Benedict XVI wrote in his first encyclical of the necessity of prayer in our charitable actions. Then
he came to the temptation of doubting prayer since there are so many miseries in this world.
"Often we cannot understand why God refrains from intervening. Yet he does not prevent us from crying out, like Jesus on the Cross: "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?" We should continue asking this question in prayerful dialogue before His face: 'Lord, holy and true, how long will it be?' (Rev 6/10). … Our protest is not meant to challenge God, or to suggest that error, weakness or indifference can be found in Him .. Instead, our crying out is, as it was for Jesus on the Cross, the deepest and most radical way of affirming our faith in His sovereign power. Even in their bewilderment and failure to understand the world around them, Christians continue to believe in the goodness and loving kindness of God. Immersed like everyone else in the dramatic complexities of historical events, they remain unshakably certain that God is our Father and loves us, even when his silence remains incomprehensible. "
Now we can kind of put it all together in a little synthesis on our prayer of petition. First of all God takes the initiative in
Christian life. He calls on us. Prayer is part of our response, it is the reciprocal call. It is always first in our response, because we
rely on grace. "Without me you can do nothing." This is especially true in the order of grace, the supernatural order. So, we must come to God like children to their father, with faith, hope, trust. We can do so only in Christ. Grafted in Him by baptism, we can approach the Father as His sons. This also puts us in communion one with another. "When two of you ask anything together in My Name, you will be heard."
It is especially in the official prayer of the Church that we pray in Christ and with one another. Especially at Mass where all our prayers are lifted up with Christ in His passage to the Father. And then we must persevere courageously in our prayer, and work to be faithful in our life.
All our life indeed should be a prayer. We can do nothing in the supernatural order, so our acts themselves are mainly a beseeching, an offering. So, one good way to pray, and do penance, is to go on pilgrimage. That activity puts the petition in our bones and muscles, makes it concrete, more real. It increases our desires. It's good to go to a holy place, a source of graces, where God likes to intensify His action. A monastery, a place of prayer, a sanctuary is a good place to go for graces. And Clear Creek is the house of Our Lady.
God likes us to pray to the saints. We thus knit ties with members of the Mystical Body on the other side. That too is in service of God's plan. This is especially true of Mary, our heavenly Mother.
Now we can turn to Fr. de Feydeau for a last word. "Tout est grace," all is grace - some harder than others. Often we have to be cornered to make us open up to big graces. This is a grace for Fr de Feydeau, a deepening of his spiritual life; perhaps a last purification if God takes him. It's a grace for us in many ways. This illness wakes us up to the fact that we cannot install ourselves here below. It wakes us up to reality. And Fr. de Feydeau is very edifying, a great example with his good humor, his realistic, natural attitude of someone who is probably about to pass from this life to the next, to the real life. He could say like St. Paul in Philippians 1/20-24.
He is a strong soul. He was a naval officer and likes challenges.
This is a chance for fraternal charity also. Fr. de Feydeau doesn't come on recreation. So, last Sunday he drew a cartoon. We see him sitting on a pillow with another one behind his head and one under each arm. He's on the phone and we see Fr Andrews on the other end [you have to know Fr. Andrews...] saying: "I'm on my way, I thought you might need a fifth pillow." We see Br. Michael cleaning up Fr. de Feydeau's cell, Br. Martin at the door with a snack, Br. Anthony perhaps with Fr. de Feydeau's shoes all polished, Br. Isidore next door carving a staff for him!
God may want to take a soul that is ready. But let's pray for his healing, we must want him to stay with us. Padre Pio of course was very high in grace, very advanced in holiness. Nevertheless when his parents died, he could hardly bear it - he couldn't celebrate mass for two or three days. We don't want to be without Fr. de Feydeau and we need him. Maybe God wants to work a miracle. maybe He wants to put us through this and then give him back. But all prayers must end, "Thy will be done." Father de Feydeau will help us in Heaven as well. Also, help Father along the way with your prayers. He deserves them. Pray also for Fr. Prior. Pray for Br. Martin [Markey, the infirmarian] who has consecrated himself to serving Fr. de Feydeau day and night.
So let's entrust Father to Mary. Let me close by quoting some stanzas of St Therese of the Child Jesus' poem on the Blessed Virgin. Her sister asked her to write out her thoughts on our heavenly Mother. This was the last poem she wrote, near her death. The theme is that she wants the Virgin Mary to be close to us, then she can imitate her, trust her. She expresses that in the first two stanzas:
Oh! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed on you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendor of all the blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child.
O Mary! before you I would lower my eyes!
If a child is to cherish his mother,
She has to cry with him and share his sorrows.
O my dearest Mother, on this foreign shore
How many tears you shed to draw me to you!
In pondering your life in the holy Gospels,
I dare look at you and come near you.
It's not difficult for me to believe I'm your child,
For I see you human and suffering like me.
Then she grows through Mary's life. And comes to the moving, final stanza evoking the time when the statue of Mary smiled at the little Therese on her sickbed and healed her:
Soon I'll hear that sweet harmony.
Soon I'll go to beautiful Heaven to see you.
You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life,
Come smile at me again, Mother, it's evening now!
I no longer fear the splendor of your supreme glory.
With you I've suffered, and now I want
To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you,
And go on saying that I am your child!