A Christmas Visit to the Big Apple!

by Sr. Philomena Anne, O.Carm.

On December 27, 2017, my novice director Sr. Helena and I went to New York City, to see The Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall.  We left at 7:15 am for an 8:00 am bus schedule.  The show started at 11:00 and it was amazing! There was a part of the show in 3D and we got great seats up close. An organist on the side played a carol that looked very cool and the organ looked very complicated to play.  On the sides of the main stage, there were performers singing as they went up to the stage that you would not see in a DVD recorded performance of the Rockettes.  What cool special effects there were on stage that you would not get to see on a DVD either!  There was even a live nativity scene with live sheep and a camel. It was definitely much more exciting to see in person!  After the show, we got in line and Sr. Helena and I got our pictures taken with one of the Rockettes.  That was very cool. I told Sr. Helena I bet that was the first time they ever had their picture taken with Sisters! We got two hard copies- one for the Sisters’ pantry and one I sent to my family. We went to the afternoon Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The sanctuary was decorated beautifully for Christmas and the manger was huge. When Mass was over, we ate lunch at the NBC News building that had places to eat and to shop in.  After lunch, we went to the decorated windows of Saks Fifth Avenue.  The theme was the 100th anniversary of Sleeping Beauty. The windows were dressed with scenes from Sleeping Beauty.  We took some pictures next to some of the windows with a funny part of that one man who decided to pose in our picture to be funny, and of course, we did not realize it until after we already took the shot and he was there! We also visited the skating rink at Rockefeller Center.  We saw the huge Christmas tree and took a few pictures. We had a few hours until our bus home so we went to Time Square since I have never seen it. The buildings were huge and there were so many giant, lighted up billboards. We then took the subway train to the bus station and got some coffee on the bus home.  The New York skyline at night with all the buildings lit up was so pretty! Something I had only seen on postcards. It was a wonderful experience to be there during the Christmas Season!  I thoroughly enjoyed it! 
Posed with a Rockette

Santa with the Rockette reindeers

The Big Apple Trolley Bus

Live Nativity Scene

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Saks Fifth Avenue Sleeping Beauty windows

A bite of the Big Apple

The Rockefeller Center

Times Square


Christmas Reflection

                        Christmas crib at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse, Germantown New York

My friends, as you plug in your computer, iPhone, iPad or smartphone  to recharge the power this Christmas, be aware of the need to connect to your greater power, Jesus.  Our inner power becomes depleted and our spiritual functionality becomes less apparent unless we fine tune our awareness to that inner voice that speaks of peace, harmony and above all love.  As Christians we are called to be fully charged, fully human and above all fully alive.

“The power of this Child, Son of God and Son of Mary, is not the power of this world, based on might and wealth; it is the power of love.  It is the power, which created the heavens and the earth, which gives life to all creation: to minerals, plants and animals; it is the force, which attracts man and woman, and makes them one flesh, one single existence; it is the power, which gives new birth, pardons faults, reconciles enemies, and transforms evil into good.  It is the power of God.  This power of love led Jesus Christ to strip himself of his glory and become man; it led him to give his life on the cross and to rise from the dead.  It is the power of service, which inaugurates in our world the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace”. (Pope Francis)

Wishing you and your loved ones the peace and love of this Christmas season when Jesus humbled himself to share in our humanity.

Sr. Mary O'Donovan, O.Carm. 
Vocation Director


Meditation on the Christmas Stable

by Sister Philomena Anne of Divine Mercy, O.Carm.

Our Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was about to give birth to the Savior of all mankind.  Saint Joseph tried to find a place for them to stay but there was no room for them at any of the inns.  They, however, found a stable, and after giving birth to the Child Jesus, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed in a trough used by the animals to feed.

We all look forward to Christmas as we put up the decorations.  We look forward to the celebration of Our Lord and Savior on Christmas Day.  But how many of us, once Christmas is over, forget?  Christmas is never about the gifts.  It is about our Lord who was born in that stable.  During Advent, we should thank our Holy Mother Mary for saying Yes to the invitation from God to be the Mother of the Redeemer and thus bringing our Lord into the world.  He turns our hearts into a clean stable.  We should keep this stable open all the time and listen to what God's Son has to tell us, not just through Scripture readings leading up to Christmas, but all year round.  We need to all keep that image of the Holy Stable and create it in our hearts.  Our hearts will then be the inn that always keeps itself open to the Lord with plenty of room where we can visit.  We can talk to Him in silence an contemplation for years to come.