Sister Hyacinthe, from France, is a Dominican Sister of St Joseph, and lives in community at St Dominic's Priory in Hampshire, England. She has recently written ANCHOR - an adult catechetical resource comprising a 6 sessions course which helps parents to anchor their children in the Catholic faith, explaining the fundamentals of the faith and the Mass.
Sister Hyacinthe's recommendations:
We can prepare already by prayer and thinking about the different ways we can grow in faith starting in October: by learning it, living it and passing it on.
Week of 2nd April - I have a reco! A polish setting of John 3:16: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. So beautiful! especially if you understand the words...
Week of 17th October - Come, Follow me:
This has been my work for the past 2 years: translating this amazing catechetical programme for children into English. The sessions are being put up for download online - you can find them there. Be on the lookout for training days as well. My favorite story about this programme is a teacher using it one day in school telling her pupils they were going to skip the prayer time. One little boy immediately exclaimed: "You've no right to do this!"
Week of 5th September - Please everyone, pray for LIFE and for England! There are crucial things being talked about and decided today (7th September) - more info here.
Week of 29th August - Try to recover from the summer: camps, pilgrimages, conferences, WYD - I am still recovering. I have lost my voice for a week now... I just want to sleep all the time (sorry it's not really uplifting). Any suggestions to get it back?
Also, get up to date in England with the New translation of the Roman Missal: CTS is doing some very good work and is offering a whole range of things.
Week of 8th August - I may be ringing my own bell here (or singing my own tune?) but I have to recommend a short and beautiful video by Vast Media about the Dominican life. It focuses on the English Dominican friars, but it's really applicable to all dominican life. Watching it just fired me anew - I was thinking: "what a great life!" and then I realised it was my life in a nutshell too. Thank you Lord!
Week of 6th June - my reco: to make use of the novena to the Holy Spirit before Pentecost to pray for vocations, and also to attend and support in the UK the invocation festival that it would bear great fruits for the new evangelisation of the country, on the road to holiness.
Lent - Just encouraging everyone (again!) to take part in 40 days for life, at least joining in the prayer and fasting, and more if possible, particularly for those who live in London and Cheltenham. It is taking place for the 1st time in Cheltenham this Lent. Wonderful!
Week of 24th January - I'm always looking for art to illustrate teaching about the faith and I stumbled on this amazing website
Sacred Art Pilgrim
which I recommend you have a look at. Some of it is colourful and bizarre, some of it dark and strange, some of it stunning or very moving. There is a wonderful collection of artists, most of them unknown, and a great diversity. I expect anyone will find something to hate and to love in there. What is amazing is that most of the artists featured there wants to express something about God and Christianity.
Week of 17th January - looking ahead to Lent and make a determined effort to take part in 40 days for life this Lent - absolutely ideal, since it combines prayer, fasting and alsmgiving (a wonderful work of mercy).
Week of 3rd January - my recommendation at the beginning of 2011 is to take up a Maryvale course. It can be done at any level (Parish & adult education, undergraduate studies, postgraduate studies & research studies) & whether you spend 5 hours or 20 hours a week working on it, it will be an amazing enrichment for your life of Faith, but also will equip you to pass on the Faith to others.
There are so many courses to choose from:
Certificates and Diplomas in Scripture, the Catholic Faith, Catechist Formation, Marriage and Family, Evangelisation and Ministry, and many other topics central to the life and mission of the Church. I recommend especially the Art, Beauty and Inspiration course, which is a 1 year certificate, and the 2 new MA programmes: Marriage and Family and Apologetics.
Week of 29th November - For those who have not seen this and those who want to see it again... Such an amazing witness of joy and beauty!! What a way to proclaim the Gospel in the public square!
Week of 22nd November - the Holy Father has asked us to pray for life on Saturday evening - let's all do it!!
Week of 8th November - I've just come back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and I just want everyone to go there - such a grace!!
Seeing, touching, smelling (the nard of the Holy Sepulchre) the very places that the Father chose to reveal Himself in human history through the sending of his Son and Spirit: the geographical heart of our salvation and adoption in God!!
Week of 2nd August - Magda Anioł's LOLEK
Week of 28th June - my reco is to attend and pray for the success of Invocation next Friday in Birmingham, Oscott. For for that matter, to give time this summer to God: retreat, pilgrimage, festival, charity work...for no reward. He will repay as only He can!
Week of 14th June - my reco: Liz Mc Comb singing 'Lay Down Body' (sometimes I very much feel like that...). She's a fantastic gospel singer and a true evangelist too!!
Week of 17th May - For anyone who is involved in catechesis or in transmitting the Faith in any way at home or in the Parish, there is an excellent review: the Sower - I'm recommending this now because I've just read the last issue and enjoyed it very much. There's a great 'learning through art' section as well...my favourrite part of the magazine - more images than words :-)
Week of 3rd May - I know I've recommended it before, but it's worth going here: www.makinglifealive.com - the website has changed... and buying a copy of 'Making Life Alive'.
And say a prayer for the Church too!!
Week of 19th April - This week: praying in thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI and for an outpouring of all graces for him at this time!
Do you know Pope Benedict? watch here
Week of 5th April (Easter Week) - 3 things this time:
- Eating chocolate (though we get given so much that I can't face anymore at the moment...)
- praying with the words of the Exsultet - click here for words
- signing 'Westminster 2010 - Declaration of Christian conscience' in the run-up for the elections, if you feel concerned.
Happy Easter everyone!
Week of 15th March 2010 -This Friday, 19th March, the Church will honour St Joseph. St Joseph is my patron (I'm a Dominican sister of St Joseph) as well as one of my personal hero and also a last resort friend on whom I call often, specially for practical purposes (he must have been so good at it, since God chose him for all things practical regarding his Son's childhood as man). I especially invoke him for family matters and he has never let me down - always answered my prayers, and sometimes very quickly!
O Glorious St. Joseph, you who have power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress. Take this important and difficult affair under your particular protection, that it may end happily. Dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in you. Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain; and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power. Amen.
Week of 8th March 2010 - Haydn's Last Seven Words of Christ on the Cross is an absolutely amazing piece of music that can be prayed along.
We have a bit of a tradition now: the Grainger String Quartet comes and plays it in our chapel as a lenten meditation. It's happening here on the 25th March at 7.15pm. Everyone welcome! The evening finishes off with Compline prayed with the sisters.
Week of 1st March 2010 - Hot cross buns are the best in Lent! Our prioress always makes sure the community gets some - it's about the only sweet thing we eat in Lent - maybe once a week - apart from Sundays and feastdays of course... I discovered them in England - never heard of them in France where I don't think they exist. I usually warm them up for 20 seconds in the microwave and fill them with whatever jam I find in the fridge....delicious.
Week of 22nd February 2010 - Great 'Stations of the Cross' can be found either at Family Publications:
Pope Benedict XVI's Way of the Cross
Stations of the Cross by Dominic Allain
Stations of the Cross by John Henry Newman
and there are 8 choices of Stations from the Catholic Truth Society.
Time to make sure our Lenten commitment to prayer is well supplied!
Week of 15th February - On Saturday night we travelled all the way to Salisbury to listen to The Seminarians. Daniel and John, from Wonersh. Most enjoyable! Click here for their Facebook group.And it's also possible to enjoy listening to some other Seminarians here.
Another way to support them and remember to pray for them is listening to their music. God is providing us with some talented priests in the making. And that leads me to another recommendation: to offer one's Lent for priests along with many others! What a wonderful way to love them. (You can join a Facebook group for this here.)
Week of 8th February 2010
ok, my recommendation this week is...to go to confession! Receiving the forgiveness of the Lord is about the most freeing experience this side of heaven. Even our sins and weaknesses are limited compared to his mercy - infinite though they may seem to us.
And the joy it brings once we step out of that confessional has to be something of the limitless joy the Lord wants us to experience in heaven. Knowing we are loved and that even our utter worst can do nothing to separate us from that love, unless we keep it to ourselves and never find the courage to give it over to Him who carried it all. A great way to get ready for Lent!
Week of 1st February 2010 -
This week the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord - 2nd February. The Son of God enters His own temple for the first time as a little baby in the arms of his Mother Mary. He is consecrated to God that day, like any little Jewish baby. The Church has adopted this feast day as the feast of all those who are consecrated to God through their vows: men and women who follow the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity and poverty. So pick one of the religious you know, or a whole religious family (Carmelites, Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Jesuits...) and pray for them especially on that day! We need it!!!.
Week of 25th January 2010
Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul...time to read or re-read one of his letters this week! My favourite one is Ephesians.
St Paul, pray for us and for the unity of all Christians.
Week of 18th January 2010 - 3 things:
- Giving to Haiti - in time, in prayer, in money ... anything to help our brothers and sisters out there.
- Praying for Christian unity this week - one of the keys to the New Evangelisation: how can the message of Christ be credibly presented by people who are divided among themselves?
- Also working for Christian unity, at the most fundamental level: how is my own unity, ny own communion with the Church of Christ? Is it not damaged by sin in my life? How can I help remedy this?
Week of 11th January 2010
Do not let the snow melt without a snow-ball fight or, ideally, as many as possible! But try not to throw ice instead of snow: one of my sisters threw some in a 'snow ball' at me, I ducked, but because she was aiming low, the 'snow ball' ended up right in my face...and it was an ice-ball. I nearly fell over, and the pain was pretty intense. We were on our way down to the chapel for adoration and my face was throbbing throughout...kept me awake ;)
Week of 4th January 2010
I've been spending time just looking at the crib and soaking in the peace of Christmas - contemplating the wonder of God's love in Christ. Wonderful way to spend time, presenting to the Christ child all the prayer intentions entrusted to me. Praying especially for priests.
Week of 14th December
Well, it's Advent - time to listen to Handel's Messiah again, this time looking at the words too for a great crash course in Scripture: all the prophecies relating to the coming of Christ and the salvation of the world...
Even better: attending a performance of it (there is one at the Albert Hall on the 18th December) - making sure you follow the text if possible. In the case of Messiah, following the text does not distract from the music but helps pray the music. Or even better still: going to a Messiah sing along...if you can find one near you...
Week of 7th December
Plugging in Vatican youtube - suscribe so you can always get the latest update. It always cheer me to see the Holy Father and to hear his words - listening to Christ Himself: "He who hears you hears me." (Luke 10:16)
Week of 30th November 2009
Evangelize through your Christmas cards: don't write one without proclaiming the message of salvation: God himself comes to save us - to love us and bring us to himself in Christ. the Baby Jesus is God made man.Before Christmas is blotted out of our post-Christian society, make the most of it by bringing its meaning right in the face and ears of as many people as possible: God reveals his love in Christ! Hope, true love and joy are only possible in the world because God has come to us to save us from the self-destruction of sin...In fact, since Advent is here, let's make it 4 weeks of total evangelisation!
23rd November 2009
Look at something beautiful for more than 30 seconds - let the beauty of it penetrate in you and transform you! Brilliant website: Web gallery of Art
We're encouraged to do this by Pope Benedict himself: "Authentic beauty unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond...If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence, the Mystery of which we are part; from this Mystery we can draw fullness, happiness, the passion to engage with it every day." (22/11/2009 - Zenit)
Week of 16th November 2009
As Advent is getting close, and with it the beginning of a new year in the Church, I recommend having a look at St Francis de Sales' writings: either 'Introduction to the Devout Life' or his Letters. He set about helping ordinary people to become saints and gives them advice and encouragement along the way...so very useful to us! If you take him up, read a little everyday (one paragraph or chapter, or one letter, not more) but try remember it and make it real in your own life.
He said: "Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew."
Week of 9th November 2009
Having spent 2 wonderful weeks in Lourdes I can only recommend to save up and go on pilgrimage - even if it is the shrine next door to you...going places is great, but doing it as a prayer - by plane, by car or better, on foot - with God and His Mother as the aim, fills the journey with infinite meaning and brings on special grace. Go pilgrims!
Week of 2nd November 2009
The Church invites us specially to pray for the dead at this time - time to light a candle, remember someone we loved, someone no one remembers...just a simple prayer for the dead, that God would bring them finally into the infinite love and light of His presence.
Week of 19th October 2009
Adopt a priest! It's the Year of the Priest (I know the year began a while ago...but never too late!) and I would suggest you adopt just one priest and commit yourself to pray for that one priest everyday of the year...It can be a young priest, an old priest, a missionary, a priest facing difficulties, a really busy priest, a retired priest...any priest...one that you know and who needs you to pray for him. A Hail Mary a day for him is all it may take. But take up the challenge!
Week of 12th October 2009
This week I recommend buying a ticket for the latest film by Grassroots, which is coming to London. They made the film "Fishers of Men".
The latest film is called "The Human Experience". You can get a taste by watching the trailer below.
There are two screenings, both at 7.30pm at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square. The dates are Friday 13th & Saturday 14th November. Tickets cost £7.50. You can get your tickets online directly from the Cinema: Click here to be taken to the page. A unique chance to watch this in England in a cinema...
Week of 5th October 2009
October is the month of the rosary! Such a great way to pray and do something concrete for all those we love, for those we don't love so much, for our families, for the world...
Week of 28th September 2009
My recommendation for the week is to get Family Publication's St Therese prayer book and make the most of it while her relics are still in England! She's great to help us remember to trust in God's unconditional love for us....
Week of 21st September 2009
For this week, I recommend : Making Life Alive - the words and teaching of JPII, with music composed by one of my friends. I can't stop listening to it! The music gives such power to the words. It's great music to give to friends - to introduce them to the beauty and truth of the teaching of the Church.
Week of 14th September 2009
I am really looking forward to Wednesday, when I'll spend all day in Portsmouth Cathedral with the relics of St Therese of Lisieux: I'll be there when they arrive!...So my recommendation is for everyone to get a chance to go and venerate the relics - spend time with the earthly remains of a most incredible saint, who never did anything special - just did everything with great love - died at 24 and is doctor of the Church and patroness of the Missions! The relics will be on tour in England throughout September-October - more info here.