Annual Retreat (photos)

May 18, 2010 Here is the most recent picture of the spiritual group with Yolanda absent.

Back row from left: Blessed Mother, Minh, Lucy, Karen.  
Front row from left: Rev Father John Eudes, Teresa, SaulingOur humble spiritual group recently welcomed three new candidates, Ena, Kyiem and Cecilia.  As we are saddened to say good bye to Debbie who left to try out the life of the Little Sisters of the Poor (we continue to keep her in prayer), we are blessed to have two novices, Yolanda and Teresa.   Last weekend we were together for our annual group retreat.  We are sorry that Yolanda could not make it to the retreat this year.  We look forward to meeting and getting to know her in person next year. We are united with her in spirit and in prayer. Clockwise: Cecilia, Ena, Sauling, Karen, Teresa and Lucy

The three candidates were invited to spend the Saturday with us.  It was wonderful to see that everyone was happy and friendly toward one another.  Despite the fact that we struggled to follow closely our Silent retreat schedule, we were able to travel back and forth several times a day to join the Genesee brothers for all the Divine Offices, including Vigil at 2:20am.  Rev. Father shared that attending Vigils was the most memorable and grace-filled experience for him as a young man making his first retreat at Gethsemani Abbey.  He said that the office of Vigil is when the monks break the silence in the middle of the night to pray to God and sing praise to Him while the whole world around them sounds asleep…  Another blessing for us was doing the Walking Rosary daily.  We even prayed it in Korean since there were four Korean present on that Saturday.  

Back row from left: Minh, Ena, Kyiem, Lucy.  
Front row from left: Rev Father John Eudes, Teresa, Karen, Sauling, Cecilia We also enjoyed our picnic lunch and dinner on the Abbey ground since there was not enough room for all of us at New Helfta studio apartment, and neither did we have enough time for traveling back and forth between Vespers and Compline.  Everyone took turn to read while others ate in silence. 
The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison by Phanxico Xavie Van Thuan Nguyen was very inspiring.

As much as I am grateful to God for sending these new candidates, I am very much aware of the challenges ahead as I continue to work with each individual to see whether she is really called to join this group.   The Lord has told us that many are called but not all will persevere, and according to Rev. Father’s years of experience, many may feel attracted to some kind of a group like ours, but not all want to join for the right reasons.  I am praying for the gift of discernment to carry out God’s holy will for all of us, members and those who are inquiring as we travel together on the journey toward God.

It is not so important whether one joins or belongs to a certain group.  What matters most is that she seeks to do his will.  

Rev. Father lecturing the Rule of St. Benedict I thank Rev. Father for his sincere effort to help out with the group as it grows.  I am grateful to God for giving Rev. Father the patience in teaching and guiding me as I try my best to be a good servant and sister to the group. 

Thank you Lord! 
Dear Blessed Mother, please intercede for us, and may our desire to seek and follow our Lord always please Him.  Amen.

January 18, 2010 Rev. Father told me today: “Life goes on.” Yes, indeed.  Despite the many challenges we have been going through as individuals and as a spiritual group, we persevered and have been growing spiritually.  Praise the Lord!


Our ex-member Vy is expecting her first baby.  We are praying for her and her family.

In December, 2009, we had a new postulant, Yolanda Nava from San Francisco, California.  After a few months of discernment she is officially trying out our group.  We are happy to have her.  She is slowly introduced to each member of the group as their prayer partner.  We are praying for her perseverance and her vocation. 


While Debbie feels called to walk a different path from ours (She would like to join the Little Sisters of the Poor.  God’s willing!  We are praying for her), we have two new candidates, Teresa Kim from Toronto, Canada and Barbara Price from York, New York who are inquiring to check us out.  With Rev. Father' permission, they hope to be with us at our next meeting in February, 2010.  May the Lord guide them to discern as we pray.


We are planning for our next annual retreat in May.  With our Lady's intercession, may the Lover of our soul whom we seek bless and guide our every effort as we persevere to seek and love him in faith as spiritual sisters under the help and guidance of Rev. Father John Eudes.  AMEN.


March 7, 2009 Our next annual retreat is the last weekend of May 2009.  We will finish reading Steps of Humility and Pride this month and the next book will be: John Cassian: Conferences by Colm Luibheid (Translator), Owen Chadwick (Designer). By then, our ex-member Vy will be married.  Lucy will be a happy grandmother of the beautiful Caitlin.   

Karen is happy with her new job. Debbie is checking out a couple of orders sometimes mid-March in NY city.  Sauling is dating.  Minh is working hard to expand the cards business while continuing to paint new icons.  She will be giving 3 talks during Lent, one in Rochester, New York and two in Lyndhurst and Jersey City, New Jersey.  Rev. Father is doing well living the hermit life among God’s creatures.  St. Francis will be very proud of him for he now has many friends from the wild including birds, turkeys, deer, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and recently a black kitty who takes walks with him…  He works in the community bakery and in the library; gives talks at the retreat house and hears confession and occasionally travels to give talks.  Please say a prayer for us all.  Thank you.

Oct 4-Oct 15, 2008 Pilgrimage to France

By the grace of God and the help of our Lady, our group went on a pilgrimage to France.  While Rev. Father went to Citeaux to give a conference to the European novice and junior masters, Debbie, Minh and Sauling went on their spiritual adventure with our Lady.  After the wonderful and spirited stay at Citeaux, the Mother House of the Cistercians, we were blessed by Rev. Father and went on our pilgrimage journey.  We drove to Nevers where St. Bernadette’s incorruptible body is; then Lyon; then Annecy where St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal were laid to rest; to O.L of the Snows monastery in the middle of no place!!! J where we slept outside in the Abbey parking lot; then to Lourdes and finally to Lisieux to pay respect to St. Therese, and then ended up in Paris  The trip was wonderful.  Only God knows how we continue to live the graces we received on that trip.  We also had many chances to offer up our discomforts and suffering for all who needed them whom we know and do not know.  Praised the Lord and thank you Blessed Mother.

July 30, 2008
We had a blessed annual retreat last May.  We experienced a different kind of grace which will help our growth in God as we continue to seek his will for us together as spiritual sisters.  Soon I will update it with some pictures which captured special moments of our days together.

February 5, 2008 Have a Blessed and Fruitful Lenten Season.  We commend our two members: Sauling and Debbie to God as they facing some challenges.

January 1, 2008 Under her spiritual father's guidance and teaching, Minh has been making her temporary vow of chastity one year at a time and learning how to live it for almost ten years. Today, in the presence of Abbot John Eudes (spiritual father), Abbot John (confessor) and almost 50 family members and close friends, she made her perpetual vow of chastity for the love of Christ on the feast of his Blessed Mother, the Mother of God. Like for Karen, we pray for her love everlasting love for God and her fidelity in serving him and his church.

October 2007 We are praying for one of our members, Karen Webb, as she is preparing spiritually to be consecrated publicly as a Consecrated Virgin on November 18, 2007.

June 8-10, 2007 Our first Annual group retreat

June 9, 2007Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ & Rev. Father's 51th Ordination of Priesthood (6/9/56)

We spent three days living together as a small spiritual community of sisters, following the Cistercian way of life, in the New Helfta studio.  The studio apartment is about a seven minute drive from the Genesee Abbey. Daily, we joined the brothers for Lauds, Vespers and Mass, and had our conference with Rev. Father. This link will take you to a typical day of our First Annual Silent Retreat.

It was a wonderful and grace-filled experience for all of us. New Helfta studio was set up like a chapel, except the Eucharist was only present in our hearts. We each had our own choir stall. When we did not join the brothers at Genesee, we gathered and prayed together here where silence was strictly observed.


We worked for a few hours each day. We took turns cooking, cleaning up and working in the garden. We had a time slot when we could talk and share our faith, which was good for us because two of our members live far away and the retreat was the only time when we could visit with them in person.


We had time for private reading and study after supper. We also took advantage of the wonderful weather and took a walk to Highland Park before Compline one afternoon.


We were at peace and happy being together as a spiritual group of sisters, of one heart and mind, trying to seek and love God and one another. One could never share nor describe how wonderful and edifying she felt from the experience. The photos taken during our June 2007 retreat will help speak of the peace and the joy we shared together. May the Spirit of the Lord who brought us together as spiritual sisters, continue to teach and guide us as we assist one another on our way to seek and love him. Amen.

April 2007 One of our ex-members has asked to rejoin the group. St. Benedict advised us to allow her back. So we welcomed her. We pray and hope that she will persevere and grow to love God who is especially present in our sisterly spiritual friendship.

January 30, 2007 Our spiritual group sent in our end-of-the-year comments and reflections. Praise the Lord! We made it through our first year and are growing despite of the fact that three out of seven original members withdrew from the group. As sad and discouraging as it might sound, Rev. Father reassured us that having more than 50% of us persevere and make progress in our spiritual life is not a bad thing! Quantity is a plus but without quality, we will not last! Everything seems to be better and go smoother but not without the members' extra effort in facing challenges. Even so, we believe we carry the right cross with the sisterly support and fatherly guidance of the group members and the spiritual advisor. Those who stay sure have proved to have the spirit and the character which are suited for our particular spiritual group.

We thank God for all the graces he has been bestowing on this group of friends, and also for his loving mercy to help us overcome and learn from the difficult trials. Only through these experiences we will learn to know ourselves and others better as individuals and as a small Christian community as much as to practice virtues through humility, trust, perseverance and charity. Dear Blessed Mother, please continue to intercede for us. Amen.

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