Category Archives: Spirituality


A Faith Perspective

The first thing I do each day is to feed my cat, Abby. Then, in the stillness of the early morning, I begin my prayer ritual and writing routine. It lasts about an hour. I pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Lourdes, and to St. Anthony and St. Jude, among other saints. I also read a passage from the Daily Word, a Christian publication. Abby brushes up against my legs as light slowly filters through the living room windows. I have a conversation with God in which I voice my petitions but also thank Him for His many blessings. I feel peaceful and serene.

I also keep a Gratitude journal in which I write down the things I am grateful for. At the top of the list are my family (including Abby), my friends, my co-workers, and supporters. I am grateful for big and small things. I am grateful for each day and for good health and happiness.

I record my thoughts and feelings in a separate, bound journal. I write about what is going on in my life now and make plans for the future. I have been keeping journals since 1979 (with the exception of a few years). My closets and storage area are filled with boxes of journals.

My morning routine has helped me recover from bi-polar disorder, which has spanned forty years. I use my journals to write about my struggles, hopes and dreams, and joys. I am calmer when I pray and write and better able to face the world.

Bi-polar illness is characterized by extreme mood swings which can be debilitating at times. It can zap my energy and make me immobile.  Over the years, I’ve had 22 hospitalizations. But, my faith is central to my recovery. God heals all wounds. I pray continuously throughout the day. Being in recovery is a prerequisite for my human service position.

In 2000, I began work as a peer support assistant for Chrysalis Center, located in Hartford. A stable work environment allowed me to, not only grow, but to thrive. I have been working there for the past 17 years. My prayer ritual and writing routine have proved to be invaluable. I am calmer at work and I handle stress better. I work in a busy unit. My spiritual director calls me the “face of Christ,” though, because I listen to the clients’ stories and serve as a role model for them. In this way, my work is also a form of prayer.

By: Debra Deptula

lenten apps

Apps To Help You Do Lent Right!

Lent is almost here. Even though we might like to, most of us can’t give up our phones and/or tablets. So, why not collect a few apps that will motivate and encourage you to make the most of these next 40 days?

Here are our picks. One final bit of advice? Keep it manageable. Try picking one or two apps with a specific purpose in mind. Have an “appy” Lent!

Xt3 Lent Calendar HD 2017
The Xt3 Lent Calendar will provide daily inspiration through videos, podcasts and reflections, as well as beautiful watercolor images to accompany you through Lent.

The content for each day is hidden until you reach that particular day of Lent. The first feature will be available on Ash Wednesday, 1 March 2017.

The Lentsanity App
Reminds you to skip the meat!

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl
This app helps you track your sacrifices and offers daily reflections and meatless recipes for Lent.

If you subscribe to Magnificat, you know that the Magnificat Lenten companion is all you really need. It’s also the only one we’ve listed here that’s not free. Liturgy, prayers and daily reflections.

Truth and Life Bible App
Try the 40 Day Challenge – read the four gospels during Lent. Added bonus: dramatized audio for the Gospel of Mark, with professional actors and real sound effects.

This app develops an examination of conscience based on age, sex and vocation and then walks you through the sacrament. With this tool, you can commit to more frequent confession throughout Lent.

The Pope App
News, speeches, images, live feeds … you can follow Pope Francis every day. A good place to start could be to read (or watch) his general audiences or Sunday Angelus addresses throughout Lent.

All apps are available for download from the App Store or Google Play.

Elizabeth Prout

Today We Remember Elizabeth Prout

Today Passionist Sisters honor Elizabeth Prout, the foundress of our community.

Elizabeth Prout lived in England. She was born in 1820 and died on this day in 1864 of tuberculosis. Her cause for beatification is before the Vatican.

We hope that you enjoy this short video about her life. Click the arrow on the bottom left of the image below to play. Make sure your computer’s sound is on.

Life of Elizabeth Prout from Mary Ann Strain on Vimeo.


Little Daily Actions Mean A Lot!

This morning, in preparation for a program I will be giving at OLC in September, I was studying Laudata Si! I was struck by the fact that amid all the concern for issues of global importance there is a tribute to “care for creation through little daily actions.” The Pope cites such things as saving heat by wearing warmer clothes [not especially relevant this month} recycling, turning off the lights. It’s a familiar list, but I took comfort from the Pope’s verdict on such conduct:

We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread. Furthermore, such actions can restore our sense of self- esteem; they can enable us to live more fully and to feel that life on earth is worthwhile.(Laudata Si! #212)

A last thought: May we be inspired by the theme of the sisters’ just concluded Provincial Chapter:

Guided by our Passionist charism,
May we find life by giving Life,
Hope by giving Hope,
And love by giving Love.

Sister Mary O’Brien C.P.

Sister Mary will offer a special retreat day on Saturday, September 24; Pope Francis and Care of the Earth. Space is limited to 12 participants who must be able to climb stairs. Click the link above for more information and to register.