January 1, 2013
Today is my 5th Anniversary of Solemn Vow to consecrate my self and my life to God. I met with Rev. Father before Mass to renew my Vow. It was a beautiful grace. He said a heart-felt prayer to God. Then after giving thanks to the Lord Most High, the Lover of souls, for the many special graces bestowed on me during the last five years, I renewed my vow, uttering from the depth of my heart as if the Lord, Jesus and His Blessed Mother were present in persons. I spent most of the day in church knowing that tomorrow will begin a new chapter. To the brother monks I wrote something like this:
It was twenty five years ago I went to Geneseo for college. Then I got accepted to the University of Buffalo to study architecture. However, God had another plan. I let go of everything and journeyed an unknown path. Ten years later, I arrived to its destination: conversion to Christianity. Then about ten years later, after living like a Poor Clare and learning how to live the faith, I was chosen to be one of His handmaids who has the grace to desire to imitate His Blessed Mother in all virtues.
A great gift I received for my special day was the pilgrimage to France where I visited Citeaux, the Cistercian Mother House and other Marian shrines in addition to the homes of some of my favorite Saints (Bernadette of Lourdes and Therese of Lisieux). A few months later, the Lord gave me a “real” job. “Not full-time O Lord for I need to write icons and live my spiritual life”. He granted me my wish. Like the grace given to St. Bernadette and her family (after the first apparition, her father got a job, and the family did not have to live in poverty as before), I did not have to do many extra jobs so could spend more time and energy in living the spiritual life and writing icons…
Last June I went to Vietnam to visit my ill father. I encountered beautiful and inspiring religious statues. God’s many special graces helped me to import a few to the States. This heavy mission led me to the desire to work for the Marian Land project on behalf the children spiritual well-being (a small and humble summer spiritual boarding school). I then started to look for a piece of land to purchase… I found one on the other end of River road, about 3 minutes from the Abbey, but I don’t feel at home there. So it is on hold. As I disclosed this earnest inspiration to friends, a few have generously offered their help and even money to purchase the land, but I told them I want to make sure it is the will of God. I do not want to feel pressured by those who give me money even though their intention is good. If God wills it, I told them, he will provide. I am willing to work and save money for this righteous cause. I need to have the freedom to act when it is God’s time.
The next day when I went to work, my supervisor told me our department would also be responsible for printing BIG POSTERS in addition to the various other kinds of printing we have been doing. That meant we needed to hire another part-timer unless I wanted to reconsider and accept working full-time. I needed time to pray and to consult my spiritual father… We negotiated and agreed that I would go back to part-time in the summer. I also made sure that I would do anything possible to be able to attend daily Mass… All required requests were granted to me! Praise the Lord!
In this Abbey church (I wrote this letter in church) for almost 15 years, I have been sustained and nourished by the Word of God and the Most Precious Body and Blood of His Son. Many special graces were revealed to me during Masses. I thank you for living your vocation faithfully and for being a great support and help to me as well as many others…