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Friday, February 05, 2016

First Profession of Br Edmund Maria, F.SS.R.

 On the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple and the Purification of Our Lady, one of our Novices, Br Edmund, presented himself as a sacrifice to God by making his first vows of Poverty Chastity and Obedience.  His family had come all the way from the USA to witness his profession.  Since the weather was too bad to bring them to Papa Stronsay during the day, the ceremony was held in the evening when the wind had dropped.

 Br Edmund kneels before the Altar.  He is both the Sacrifice to be offered, and the one offering it.  Thus at one and the same time he is both priest and victim.

 Br Edmund (left) prepares to bind himself by vow to God.

He prostrates himself before the Altar and the funeral pall is spread over him, representing his death to the world and to the 'old man'.

 The community chant the Veni Creator Spiritus.

 Br Edmund pronounces the three vows while kneeling before Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament:

"...prostrate on my knees,
I promise and vow for three years: 

 Brother receives the Pallium of a professed monk, and at the same time receives his full religious name: Br Edmund Maria of the Empress of the Americas.

 Brother signs the certificate of his profession.

The community on Papa Stronsay.

Br Edmund Maria with his parents and siblings.

Congratulations to Br Edmund Maria for the wonderful gift he has made to God!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

That steps not slide. That holy faith be kept.

The sky is beautiful this evening. 
It is clear. The sea is calm.
Ice is biting into the ground.
Welcome stillness indeed
but where steps might simply slide.

O blessed solitude where we meditate at meals
on the lives and sayings of the Saints.

Today there was an interesting statement from St Alphonsus.
We are well  through Volume II of his Life.

On 14 May 1772 he wrote to Father Blasucci:

"Naples is abandoning the faith,
people no longer go to confession,
preaching is despised,
seculars expound theology,
and everyone interprets Holy Scriptures,
the dogmas and commandments
just as he pleases!"

O Holy Father watch over us in 2016!
Pray for us that even if entire cities of souls
abandon the faith in our times,
pray that we persevere 
in keeping the same faith that you professed
and in which you died. 

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A New Deck for Liguori House

Some time ago one of the faithful donated
the top decking wood for Liguori house.
Before Christmas action was taken begin installing the deck
with the help of friends and faithful.

Br Xavier prepares the ground work by cutting a straight edge to the concrete.

A young man of our parish Jose breaks the pieces away.

Connecting a hose pipe stopped the dust clouds.

John Shortall organised the buying of the frame wood
and is here cutting the lengths needed.

Tim White assists in assembling the framework.

Without the help of Jason the job would not have been completed so efficiently.

A nail gun makes quick work of the assembly.

Daniel and his son Isaac here assist at dismantling the old ramp.

The use of "tuffblocks" made the footings much easier than digging holes.
These are placed level on the ground and support the framework.

A lazer level to keep everything perfectly horizontal.

Young men of the parish giving a helping hand.

Nothing like hot pizza to keep body and soul together.

The moment of truth putting the frame upon the "tuffblocks".

Gently does it!

A few minor adjustments . . .

. . . and the frame is sound and solid.

The decking wood can now be attached . . .

. . . and many hands make light work.

The first section looking splendid.

With Christmas and Epiphany over works continue.

The Conlan family have come in force to continue the job.

Team effort makes the work much easier.
The deck in the front of Liguori House finished and stained.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year — Saving a Seal

Life on a small island can often be very interesting.  For example: Who expects that stepping outside their front door, they would find a seal sitting on their doorstep?  Well here on Papa Stronsay, that's exactly what happened.  Leaving my cell in the middle of the morning, I was confronted with a fairly large adolescent seal on the pathway which forms the small street between our monastic cells, called the Via Paparum!

The question was how to move it?  Seals can be quite aggressive when cornered and have the nickname "sea dogs".  This one was not interested in going back to its home, and we certainly couldn't have it staying too long in the Monastery!

With some of the brethren, a plan was formulated.

We put a blanket over the seal — which as you can see, it was not keen on — to stop it from being able to bite us.  It had a mouth full of very small, very sharp teeth.

Then, we took an old canvas mail sack which was cut down one side, and placed it over the seal, with its snout into the undamaged corner of the sack.

With some difficulty, the seal was put onto a sheep hurdle and transported back to the sea.

It was a great adventure!  For a light-hearted look at our experience, do watch the video below:

We wish you all a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas on Papa Stronsay

My just one is near at hand, my saviour is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the people: the islands shall look for me, and shall patiently wait for my arm. Isaiah 51:5

Awaiting the coming of our Saviour on the Holy Island of Papa Stronsay, Br Felix prepares the refectory in memory of the stable of Bethlehem.  Every year on Christmas Eve we spread straw on the floor to remind us of Christ's humble birth-place.


At 11pm we sing carols by candle-light for an hour before Mass.
Sing ye to the Lord a new song, his praise is from the ends of the earth: you that go down to the sea, and all that are therein: ye islands, and ye inhabitants of them. Isaiah 42:10

Before Mass begins, Fr Magdala Maria places the figure of the Divine Infant into the crib.

At the Holy Mass of Christmas night, Our Lord Jesus Christ descends once more to the earth at the call of the priest.


We wish a happy and blessed Christmas to you all!

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