Walk and Rally for Life

(January 19, 2017)

 

 

On January 19, 2017, Illinois Right to Life organized it's annual Walk for Life and a Sanctity of Human Life Rally. In witness to our pro-life commitment, some of our Sisters joined other pro-lifers for a prayerful march around Federal Courthouse in downtown Peoria. The march was followed by the rally at the Riverside Church. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

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Epiphany House Blessing

(January 8, 2017)


"May all who enter this home find Christ's light and love". This was one of the pra
yers at our annual House Blessing on the Feast of the Epiphany. Msgr. James Kruse, our diocesan Vicar General, blessed every room in our convent and marked the doors with the initials of the Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar (20 + C + M + B + 17). The inscription was made of chalk, a product of clay, which recalls the human nature taken by the Adorable and Eternal Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We accompanied Monsignor singing Christmas carols as he walked through the house.

 

 

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Christmas Crèche

 

It all started with the desire to make the miracle of Christ's Birth alive again in people's hearts. St. Francis of Assisi could not contain his joy and awe of God becoming a little baby and so he made it real. Real people, real animals, real stable. The first nativity scene in Greccio, Italy in 1223 with Midnight Mass near the stable. And God was not outdone in generosity. After preaching the homily, Francis held in his arms the Christ Child. Real. Saint Bonaventure said that this symbolized the mission of the saint:"...for the Child Jesus had been forgotten in the hearts of many; but , by the working of his grace, he was brought to life again through his servant St. Francis and stamped upon their fervent memory."

 

That's how crèches or nativity sets came about. And since this is a very Franciscan custom, throughout our Motherhouse we have many nativity sets. Here are the pictures of some of them.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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Annual Christmas Bake and Craft Sale

(December 1-3, 2016)

 

Our 8th Annual Christmas Bake and Craft Sale was held on December 1-3, 2016 and it was once again a great success. This is our major fundraiser and the proceeds help our community as well as poor and needy people around the world. All items are hand made by the Sisters and the baked goods are made from scratch. Many people said that the cookies are "too pretty to eat" (who said you cannot eat pretty cookies?). Big thank you to all who came this year to support us and at the same time to buy some unique handmade gifts for Christmas! We pray for all of our benefactors and supporters every day and we remember them in a monthly Mass offered at St. Thomas Church. Some photos of our dining room turned into our craft store are below.

 

 

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Closing of the Cathedral Holy Door

(November 20, 2016)

 

The closing of the Holy Door at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria on November 20th signified the end of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. We had a chance to walk through that Holy Door many times. Did it change us? Did it make us more merciful? Did it make us long for God's mercy more than before? Let's hope so. It is said that when God closes the door, he opens the window. It is also said that "the eyes are the windows to the soul". May God open our eyes as windows through which He wants us to see where we can make His merciful love present in the world.

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Founder's Day Celebration

August 24-25, 2016

 

Our diocese commemorated the centenary of the death of its founding bishop - Bishop John Lancaster Spalding - on August 24-25. On August 24 we attended Solemn High Requiem Mass for Bishop Spalding. The next day we joined our Bishop Jenky and others in praying the Rosary for Bishop Spalding at the Spalding Memorial where he as well as other Peoria bishops are buried. While this was more of a somber nature, it all turned into the celebration at 1 PM that day with the Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating the renovation of our Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception under the leadership of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. We were privileged to be able to sponsor the St. Joseph Altar in memory of Sr. M. Bernadette who passed away in 2014. To read more click here.

                           

              

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Peoria Notre Dame 2016 Run for Life

(May 14, 2016)

 Run for Life 1

Many people are not aware that a great number of young people are very much pro-life. Peoria Notre Dame Teens for Life club hosted their first Run for Life in support of the Women’s Care Center in Peoria. The center helps pregnant women choose life for their babies. They serve 600 women annually and 97% of these women chose life for their babies.

 

In support of this great endeavor on the part of young people, Mother Vaclava and Sr. Marion took up the challenge and walked one mile at the event which took place on May 14 at Donovan Park in Peoria.

 

Run for Life2

 
                                                                     

Mother Vaclava is getting ready for the run!

 

 

                                                               

 

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Sister M. Marion Receives Nursing Excellence Award

(May 6, 2016)

Award for Sr. Marion

May 6, 2016, was a very joyful day for our community. Sister Marion received the Exemplary Professional Practice, Direct Clinical Care Provider Award at OSF St. Francis Medical Center. The award is given to one of many nominees every year and we are very proud that Sister Marion is this year’s winner. Here is an excerpt from her nomination:

 

“In order for any healthcare organization to succeed, it must provide outstanding nursing care. The same is true for each department within that organization. OSF St. Francis Medical Center is blessed to have Sister Marion working daily to deliver the OSF values and mission to the patients we serve at the OSF Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center. I feel honored to work alongside her daily to provide an outstanding level of care to those we serve. Sister Marion is a remarkable, humble, and accomplished nurse who is a truly worthy personification of this prestigious award”.

        Congratulations, Sister Marion!

 Sr. Marion with Sisters

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Kidney 5K Race/Walk

(April 24, 2016)

 

For the second time, Mother Vaclava and Sr. Marion participated in the "Kidney 5K Race/Walk" in memory of our beloved Sr. Bernie. The Race is a fundraiser for Central Illinois Memorial Kidney Fund benefiting all who live on dialysis. Having first-hand experience of the needs of dialysis patients, we were more than happy to extend a helping hand. The event took place on April 24, 2016 in Peoria, on the beautiful banks of the Illinois River.

 

It was a great opportunity to see again the doctors, nurses, and patients - our extended family who stood by Sister Bernie and us during our challenging times.


          

 

The event was also fun, and not surprisingly for us, our own Mother Vaclava won for the second consecutive year in her category!

Running

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Christmas and the Epiphany House Blessing 

 

 "Let us consecrate this door and the home it protects to Christ who is the sheepgate.

Let this door be the threshold that leads both ways to the blessings of God."

 

 Epiphany Blessing I

 

Epiphany is a customary time to bless homes and families. In keeping with this tradition, we had our annual “House Blessing” on January 4, 2015. Each room of the convent was sprinkled with holy water and the initials of the Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar        (20 + C + M + B + 15) were inscribed upon the doors with the blessed chalk. The initials also refer to the Latin phrase "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" which means "May Christ bless this house".

 

Epiphany Blessing IIThe crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ, whom we invoke, and the holiness of the Three Magi sanctified by their adoration of the Infant Christ. The inscription is made of chalk, a product of clay, which recalls the human nature taken by the Adorable and Eternal Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Sisters accompanied Fr. Larry Zurek, OFM with Christmas Carols as he made his way through each room of the convent.

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The Funeral of Sister Bernadette

Sister M. Bernadette Kouri

 

On July 11, 2014, Sister M. Bernadette Kouri - one of the founding members of our community- passed away. Sister Bernadette's life was spent in giving of herself to children in CCD classes, to elderly and employees at the nursing home and to her fellow sisters in the community. God chose her to carry on the apostolate of suffering which she embraced with abandonment to His will for a number of years. Our hearts are filled with sadness at her loss but we rely on her intercession with the Lord on our behalf. May her soul rest in peace!  Click here to read Sister Bernadette's Obituary.

 

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The Feast of Corpus Christi

 corpus christi 1

The Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) is set aside to commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. For centuries after the celebration was extended to the universal Church, the feast was also celebrated with a Eucharistic procession, in which the Blessed Sacrament was carried throughout the town, accompanied by hymns and litanies. The faithful would venerate the Body of Christ as the procession passed by. Although this practice has almost disappeared, some parishes still hold a brief procession around the outside of the parish church. 

 

The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis hold an annual Eucharistic procession at their Motherhouse in East Peoria. The procession begins corpus christi 2in the chapel and proceeds to three outdoor altars on their beautiful grounds. This year the feast was celebrated on June 22, and we were blessed to once again decorate one of the outdoor altars. Two other altars were decorated by Fr. Larry Zurek, OFM, of the Franciscan Friars from Sacred Heart Church in Peoria, and the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  Despite the hot weather, more people than ever came to the procession and it was a beautiful way to celebrate Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.

 

 

 

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The Feast of The Visitation

 

To close the month of Mary, on May 31, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we attended an outdoor Mass at the Marian Shrine by St. Joseph Church in Peoria. Franciscans in general have a great devotion to the Mother of God and Franciscan Friars made it a very special celebration. In addition to a number of lay faithful there were four Franciscan communities in attendance. Fr. Larry Zurek, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Church, encouraged all to look at Mary not as a quiet woman in the background but as a woman always on the way, always active and desiring to bring Christ wherever she went. The celebration would not be complete without food and so it concluded with the European style breakfast.

 visitation

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Mass of Thanksgiving-May 28, 2014

 

Already a year before his ordination, Fr. Kyle Lucas expressed his desire to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving in our Motherhouse chapel. On May 28, only a few days after being ordained a priest, Fr. Lucas, accompanied by also newly ordained Deacon Matthew Deptula, celebrated one of his first Masses for our community. By divine providence, this day was also the 5th anniversary of the dedication of our chapel and so this celebration was even more special. May God bless Fr. Lucas in his first year as a priest and Deacon Deptula as he prepares to be ordained next year.

 

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Ordinations

 

May is a joyful month for our diocese as it is the month of ordinations. We were blessed to attend the ordination of four young men to transitional diaconate on May 17 and ordination of four deacons to the priesthood of Jesus Christ on May 24. Both ordinations were held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria. One of the newly ordained priests – Fr.Kyle Lucas - is from our home parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in Peoria Heights. Fr. Lucas is second from the right in the picture below. Also pictured, from left to right, are: Msgr. James Kruse - Vicar General, Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck, Fr. Matthew Hoelscher, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., Fr. Corey Krengiel, and Msgr. Paul Showalter, Vicar General.

 

 

Ordination

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Blessing of Easter Baskets

 

 “God of glory, the eyes of all turn to you as we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Bless us and this food of our first Easter meal. May we who gather at the Lord’s table continue to celebrate the joy of his resurrection and be admitted finally to his heavenly banquet.”

Easter Blessing

 Each year on Holy Saturday morning, our Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C., welcomes anyone who wants to participate in the annual blessing of Easter baskets at St. Mary’s Cathedral. This tradition, which is more common in Europe, was started in the Peoria Diocese by Bishop Jenky and is attended by many families,Sr. Marion especially those with children. The custom of blessing food for Easter arose from the discipline of fasting throughout Lent and the special Easter fast during the Easter Triduum. Easter was the first day when meat, eggs, and other foods could be again eaten. The ham, homemade bread, beautifully wax-dyed Easter eggs, and lamb-shaped cake in our basket made for a delicious Easter meal while recalling the generous and plentiful gifts God has given to us in Jesus Christ.

 

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                                                   May Crowning

 

“O God, since you have given us Mary, the Mother of your Son, to be our mother and our queen, grant that we, who crown her image, may attain the glory of your children in the kingdom of heaven.”

 May Crowning

Our celebration of May Crowning was very special this year! A nine year old girl from Peoria named Isabel wanted to come spend the day with us.  She did a beautiful job crowning our statue of the Blessed Mother in the Chapel.  After learning a little bit about life in the convent, joining us for lunch, and playing an exciting game of bean-bag toss, Isabel headed back home, but we all greatly enjoyed her visit!

 

 

 

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Canonization of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII

 

canonizationAs of Sunday, April 27th, the Church officially has two new saints!  The canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII was celebrated in our diocese by a beautiful Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral celebrated by our Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. which we were blessed to attend. The paintings of the two new saints were placed at the side altar. The Mass was a wonderful way to celebrate this great event as a local church since so many people were not able to travel to Rome. Now we have two parishes in our Diocese that are named for these saints. 

 

In November of 2013, the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary brought a first class relic of Pope John Paul II to the Cathedral for veneration.  A great number of people, even some from surrounding states, came to Peoria to express their devotion to him. St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII, pray for us!

 With the Bishop

    We were privileged to be able to greet Bishop Jenky after the Mass in front of the Cathedral.

 

May 6, 2016, was a very joyful day for our community. Sister Marion received Exemplary Professional Practice Direct Clinical Care Provider Award for OSF St. Francis Medical Center. The award is given to one of many nominees every year and we are very proud that Sister Marion is this year’s winner. Here is an excerpt from her nomination:

“In order for any healthcare organization to succeed, it must provide outstanding nursing care. The same is true for each department within that organization. OSF St. Francis Medical Center is blessed to have Sister Marion working daily to deliver the OSF values and mission to the patients we serve at the OSF Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center. I feel honored to work alongside her daily to provide an outstanding level of care to those we serve. Sister Marion is a remarkable, humble, and accomplished nurse who is a truly worthy personification of this prestigious award”.

Congratulations, Sister Marion!

Franciscan Sisters of John the Baptist

1209 E. Lake Avenue

Peoria Heights, IL 61616

309-688-3500

 

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