Friday, December 30, 2016


Feast Day: January 1

Photo: R. Massaro, Little Flower Parish North Canton, Ohio


Do not be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You will never love her enough, and Jesus will be very happy, because the Blessed Virgin is His Mother.          

St. Therese

The solemnity of the Mother of God, which now coincides with the octave-day of Christmas and the beginning of the new year, was probably assigned this day because of the influence of the Byzantine Church, which celebrates the synapsis of the most holy Theotokos on December 26. Read more...

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, December 24, 2016



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, December 17, 2016



Feast Day: December 17

Photo Source: Wikipedia

Our Lady of Amiens, France

The shrine to Our Lady of Amiens is a cathedral. The church was erected in the third century by Saint Firmin, the bishop of Amiens, who received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian. A part of the head of Saint John the Baptist was preserved here; it was brought hither by a traveler named Galo, or Wallon de Sarton, depending upon the legend, on his return to Constantinople in the year 1205. Read more...

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, December 13, 2016



Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites!

Photo: R. Massaro Carmelite Monastery Cleveland, Ohio

From the life of St. John of the Cross:

Once during Holy Week he suffered so intensely from the Passion of Christ that he found it impossible to leave the monastery to hear the nuns' confessions. Among his favorite feasts, besides those of the Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christi, were the feasts of the Blessed Virgin. In his prison cell, on the Vigil of the Assumption, after nine months of severe privation, he was asked what he was thinking of. He replied, "I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of our Lady and that it would give me great joy to say Mass. The sight of an image of the Mother of God brought love and brightness to his soul. Once, on seeing an image of our Lady while he was preaching to the nuns in Caravaca, he could not conceal his love for her and exclaimed: "How happy I would be to live alone in a desert with that image."

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, December 9, 2016



Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France

Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of St. Juan Diego, the visionary of Guadalupe. On Monday, we will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Did you know that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a mandatory feast day for the people of the Americas? Many feast days are optional, meaning the priest has the option of using the prayers proper to the saint of the particular day, or he may use the readings of the day. Below is an excerpt from the homily of St. John Paul II when he declared the feast to be mandatory.

"The Apostle Paul teaches us that we are no longer servants, but children of God. Therefore, the Church must proclaim the Gospel of Life and blame the culture of death. May it be the culture of life. Life for all! For all who have been conceived in the mother’s womb, refugees, the young, the old, for those who suffer, dear brothers and sister. The time has come of every attack against life--no more violence, terrorism, no more torture, or other forms of abuse. There must be an end to the death penalty---no more exploitation ---never again! The conscience is of the children of God. This will inspire them to live a better life. We must build up a New Springtime on the continents so it will go hand and hand."

A climax in the Holy Father’s homily concluded with the following words, "I wish to entrust and offer the future of this continent to Most Holy Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. That is why, I have the great joy to announce today that I have declared this date December the 12th, as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent."

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, December 7, 2016



Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France

(Please enjoy this most requested post on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our Lady reveals herself to St. Bernadette:  

" I Am the Immaculate Conception"

It has been written that St. Bernadette desired to be a Carmelite nun but because of her poor health was not able to enter the Order. She eventually entered the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, France.

During the apparitions at Lourdes, very few words were spoken between St. Bernadette and Our Lady. Bernadette seemed to be a natural contemplative, she was quiet and reflective, she had an open heart and listened-ready to do the will of God. 

At the first apparition on Feb. 11, 1858, Bernadette heard the call of Our Lady, not only in the physical sign of Our Lady's impending appearance by the wind shaking the the trees, but in her heart. Bernadette described that she felt a "call" to go to the Grotto. It was an interior spiritual prompting of the Holy Spirit that attracted her to the Grotto to meet Our Lady in the later apparitions. Bernadette had to be a person of prayer to be attentive to this "call" and to respond to it.

Bernadette's meeting with Our Lady of Lourdes reflects the experience of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. The holy Prophet encountered God in a soft whispering sound that spoke directly to his heart. For Bernadette, the Grotto becomes the mountain where she meets God through Our Lady, where she learns to pray, where she is given the gift of contemplation.

The 18th and final apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette took place on July 16, the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our Lady remained silent during the final meeting with Bernadette. They looked at each other with love. This holy exchange is a beautiful example of perfect contemplation, where love needs no words.

As Carmelites, the main point of our rule is allegiance to Jesus Christ, and an offshoot of that main point is to imitate the Virgin Mary who pondered the Word in her heart. We can see in the life of St. Bernadette how Mary led her to contemplation.

Let's start at the beginning: In the first apparition, Mary shows herself to Bernadette, smiles at her but remains silent.

Do you remember your first encounter with Christ? The moment he first called you to intimate friendship with him? How difficult was it to pray from the heart for the first time?

Second Apparition: Bernadette throws holy water at the apparition. People tell her it could be the devil.

After the invitation from Christ, we begin to doubt that we are worthy to be loved by Him. We ask ourselves, "Is this from God?" Family members and friends wonder what is going on with us!

Third Apparition: Our Lady asks Bernadette, "Would you do me the kindness of coming here for fifteen days?" "I do not promise you happiness in this life but in the other."

Our Lady asks us to remain faithful in prayer, faithful to our commitment as Carmelites to seek the face of God in prayer on behalf of the Church. We must die to ourselves and experience joy in God alone. Worldly things no longer attract us.

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Apparitions: Bernadette and Our Lady deepen their friendship. They pray together and even laugh together.

In the life of Carmel, our prayer life becomes deeper when we trust in the Lord as little children. We run to him and tell him everything; the joys and sorrows of our life. He is there to cry and laugh with us.

Eighth Apparition through the Twelfth: Our Lady with an air of sadness repeats: "penance, penance, penance." "Pray to God for sinners. " She asks Bernadette to kiss the ground for eat the grass for sinners.

Now that our relationship with our Beloved has grown stronger he asks us to suffer with him, to take up our cross after him. The life of a Carmelite is a penitential one. Sometimes as Secular Carmelites we forget this aspect of our rule. We may adhere to the required prayer and spiritual reading, but do we really desire to mortify ourselves for the love of Christ?

Our Rules states:
The Secular Carmelite highly esteems the invitation of the Lord to deny himself and willingly to take up his cross daily and follow Him; he will, therefore, gladly mortify himself in union with the sacrifice of Christ, remembering, too, our Holy Mother Teresa's remark that "prayer cannot be accompanied by self-indulgence."

The Secular Carmelite will be especially faithful to the Church's penitential discipline. He will also, in accordance with the promptings of grace, and as far as circumstances will allow, make use of other means of mortification, particularly on those days and at those seasons that have a distinctive penitential character.

The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Apparitions: Our Lady asks Bernadette to "go tell the priests that people should come here in procession and that a chapel should be built here."

Bernadette is sent on mission. We, too, as Carmelites, through our individual and community apostolates, share in the missionary life of the Church. Whatever that may be, making rosaries, helping the poor and the sick, teaching others about our Catholic faith-we must step outside of ourselves, for our vocation is not just for our personal sanctification. Our gifts are given to us to benefit the entire Church.

Sixteenth Apparition: Feast of the Annunciation. Our Lady reveals her name: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Bernadette has been faithful to Our Lady's request, to her commitment to meet our Lady for fifteen days. She is rewarded.

Bernadette reminds me of the apostle John at the foot of the Cross in which Our Lord entrusts Mary, his mother, to his home. Now, Bernadette, stands before Our Lady at the Grotto on behalf of the Church ready and eager to hear her beautiful name: Immaculate Conception!

Seventeenth Apparition: Miracle of the candle. Bernadette experiences spiritual ecstasy.

Our Lady has led Bernadette on a spiritual pilgrimage, the road of deep prayer. Now the little pilgrim, Bernadette, experiences God with her whole being, she experiences spiritual ecstasy. She has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.

In their writings, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa explain in great detail about deep mystical experience in prayer. We know that this type of gift is just that-pure gift, infused by God. As St. Teresa says, it cannot be produced by one's own effort. St. Bernadette experienced deep prayer through the help and guidance of Our Lady. Let us imitate the humble virgin, Bernadette, and let Our Lady lead us safely up the mountain, to perfect contemplation, to union with Christ. 

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, December 2, 2016


Photo: R. Massaro Words of Our Lady to St. Bernadette: Penance, Pray for the Conversion of sinners.

Editor's Note: Thank you to all of the readers of Spirit Singing who continue to visit and support my efforts of evangelization by way of Carmelite spirituality. I have not written much since my dear mother passed away almost a year ago.  A friend encouraged me to continue to share my gift of writing.  I was inspired to begin posting again with a meditation written by my late mother. She was a member of the Servants of St. Therese, a lay association of the faithful whose members visited nursing homes and gave spiritual talks to the residents. I found a book of mom's meditations and will share some of them with you. She bound her writings in this book labeled "perfection."  Below is her meditation on the "Our Father."

We say the prayer "Our Father" every day. For a long time, the part where we pray, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," stood out in my mind when I prayed.
Somehow, through God's grace, I have been given an understanding of what this means.

Every person, every soul, is God's property. Like a house standing on some land. After all, we are all temples of the Holy Spirit and a temple is the house of God. So each and every one of us is God's private property, His house, with a big sign on it, No Trespassing! Private Property!

Every time we bring up someone's name before us, in conversation, in our thoughts, in our deeds, we are entering God's private property. If we enter that property without permission, or go there and trample underfoot or damage something there, we have trespassed! The same as if you had deliberately went there, invaded someone's privacy or damaged something. We have no business there, if that is what we do. If we come with Love in our hearts, knocking at the door, we then have permission to enter, and only then!

You know this is true, because, all of us, some time or another, have been on the receiving end of someone trespassing against us. And so, Jesus has asked us to forgive those who have hurt us, and to accept forgiveness for ourselves for hurting others. Love is what matters. He asks us to "Love one another, as I have loved you." He doesn't love just you or me, but everybody, whether we like it or not. Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Written by the late Mary Leary
Servant of St. Therese

I think my mom received a great grace of spiritual insight into how we trespass against others. The sins of gossip and detraction can be seen in light of her teaching on this. How many times do we bring up someone's name in front of others to criticize them, reprimand them, detract them, or "throw them under the bus" when they aren't even present to defend themselves. That is trespassing on God's private property, our neighbor.  Let us remember and take to heart the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians:

Never let evil talk pass your lips, say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them...Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Ephesians 4)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS