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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let the Sun shine!

It has been raining off and on for a while now here in Christchurch, but today, with a break in the weather a few brothers made the most of the opportunity to take a walk in the beautiful countryside. The walk is called "Kennedy's Bush" and is just south of the city centre.
 Br Paul in the distance and Br Xavier

 The view to the East

 Br Xavier hardly visible in the long bush

 View to the West

 Amongst the tall flax

 Br Paul enjoying the shade of forest path

 Explanatory notice about the Sign of the Bellbird

 Just over the other side of our destination,
Lyttleton seen on the left

 A Bellbird feeding on the flax on the path side

Young calves along the way

Sunday, December 29, 2013

O Holy Night!

Our candle-light Christmas Midnight Mass on Stronsay.

Dominus dixit ad me: filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. (Ps. 2:7)

Sursum corda!

...and falling down they adored Him. (Matt. 2:11)

Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. (Jn. 6:54) 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This Christmas in New Zealand the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer celebrated the Word Made Flesh in a small beautiful wooden church outside of the city of Christchurch. A bus was hired to take a group of about thirty people to the church of St Brigid at Loburn. Others came from Rangiora and some from Loburn itself. We sang carols on the way to our 'Bethlehem' and again had carols before a Solemn High Mass, which was followed by refreshments and a fire works display. There were in all 73 faithful and 7 religious. It was a joyous and wonderful occasion and we share with you some of the photos.

 Carols by candlelight before the Solemn High Mass

The beautifully decorated altar. 

The Celebrant Father Anthony Mary incensing the Divine Infant

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! 

 Blessing of  the deacon before he sings the Gospel

 'Deacon' Father Yousef sings the Gospel of Midnight Mass

 "Et Verbum Caro Factum Est" during the Credo of the Mass

The Offertory 

Br Jean Marie holding the Paten with the Humeral Veil at the preface

 Elevation of the Sacred Host

 Elevation of the Precious Blood

"Ecce Agnus Dei"  Behold the Lamb of God

Blessing with Infant Jesus after Holy Mass

The Altar Servers with Sacred Ministers

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favour received from the Bonnie Prince.

Kelly reports this favour from The Bonnie Prince:

Victoria is a little three year old girl who was born blind.
She lives in the united States. 
The endearing child who suffers much 
has  never been able to eat food normally. 
She awaits brain surgery at the Dukes Hospital. 

Of late Victoria lay for three days 
suffering from a high fever. 
Kelly, a friend of Victoria's mother 
and who is devoted to the Bonnie Prince, 
upon hearing of the fever invoked the Prince's assistance
 for little Victoria. 

Kelly took her image of the Bonnie Prince 
and with it touched it to the photo of Victoria
 that she had on her computer screen.

Her prayer was heard. 
Less than five minutes later,
the fever left her 
Victoria's temperature had dropped to normal.

 Public Thanksgiving is offered to the Bonnie Prince:
I praise Him most, I love Him best,
All praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live
And cannot love amiss. ...

Alas, He weeps, He sighs, He pants!
Yet do His angels sing;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs
Doth bud a joyful spring.
O Bonnie Prince whose tender arms
Can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life,
Direct me when I die. 
[Hymn in honour of The Bonnie Prince]

Some other fevers Our Lord did cure:

And Simon' s wife' s mother lay in a fit of a fever: and forthwith they tell him of her.  And coming to her, he lifted her up, taking her by the hand; and immediately the fever left her... (Mark 1:30-31)

He asked therefore of them the hour wherein he grew better. And they said to him: Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him. The father therefore knew, that it was at the same hour that Jesus said to him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:52)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

O Bread of Heaven!

It is our custom to follow Thursday Mass with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  Below is a photo from today's adoration.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Gaudate Sunday falls on the third Sunday of Advent.  It takes its name from the first word of the Introit.

"Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum." Phil. 4:4-6

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice.  Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh.  Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God."

Gaudete Sunday is the counterpart to Lætare Sunday in Lent.  Falling as it does at the half-way-point of Advent, the penitential season of expectation leading up to Christmas, Gaudate Sunday provides a moment of relief from the austerities of the fast, thus the liturgical colour of rose replaces the penitential violet.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rorate Coeli Desuper et Nubes Pluant Justum

The Rorate Mass is a special Advent devotion in honour of Our Blessed Lady and is especially traditional in Germany and Poland.  The title of this devotion is taken from the first word of the Introit for the Mass of Our Lady during Advent which is itself taken from the words of Isaiah the Prophet (see below).

 The Rorate Mass is traditionally celebrated by candlelight. Today, the Saturday of the second week of Advent, we celebrated a Rorate Mass on Stronsay.

Before Holy Mass.

 Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum; aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.  Isa. 45:8

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour.

 "For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth." Phil. 2:10

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Calendar OUT NOW!

The 2014 Papa Stronsay Calendar is OUT NOW! Packed full of beautiful and diverse images, daily liturgical calendar, major anniversaries and so much more. A fantastic addition to any home, office, or anywhere else!


Friday, December 06, 2013

A Perfect Storm

5th December 2013 saw an impressive storm hit large parts of the UK.  Here is how it looked on Stronsay, the island next door to Papa Stronsay.  Gusts were estimated at up to 80 mph, causing flooding in the village of Whitehall.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's all in the detail

One of the many details found on the image of The Bonnie Prince is His brooch.  He is pictured wearing the Hunterston Brooch. The Hunterston Brooch is an ancient Scottish brooch dating from about the year 700 A.D. It is dated by its artistic similarity to the Lindisfarne Gospels.  You can click the images below to enlarge them.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Homage to the King of kings, the Bonnie Prince.

The holy image of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
 King of kings, 
set in Scotland, 
under the title of 
The Bonnie Prince.  

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings,
under the title of 
The Bonnie Prince 
blesses you from the Stone of Destiny, 
the crowning place of kings.

As your Infant King He seeks to win your heart to Himself. 
Look upon His wounded Hands and little Feet. 
Behold His Heart that has loved you so much. 

Stand beneath His banner, 
worship Him as God and do Him homage. 
By Homage you declare that: He is your Lord; 
you are His servant and friend; 
and you promise to remain with Him 
in loyalty, love and perpetual fidelity.

The permission to depict the Bonnie Prince in the Royal Stuart tartan was graciously accorded to us by the Earl of Moray.
The image depicts the Royal Child emerging from the darkness, the mystery and the mist of the Highlands in all His beauty.  The Christ Child wears the Royal Stuart Tartan, and on His head is the crown of Scotland.  He sits on the coronation stone (The Stone of Scone) which was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland.  His hand is raised in blessing and as in the style of the Most Holy Redeemer, He holds the Cross on His left side.  His Sacred Heart is visible - the high point of the manifestation of His Kingship.  He bears the marks of His crucifixion.  Around Him are the Highlands of Scotland known for its grey skies and mist, and towards the edge of the painting the Royal Scottish Standard is visible. 

The Image, the title The Bonnie Prince and 
the Hymn to the Bonnie Prince 
were canonically approved by the Bishop of Aberdeen
on 13 May, 2013. 

Hymn to the Bonnie Prince
(Tune:  Auld Lang Syne –Robert Burns)

1. Let folly praise that fancy loves,
    I praise and love that Child
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word,
    Whose hand no deed defiled.
I praise Him most, I love Him best,
    All praise and love is His;
While Him I love, in Him I live,
    And cannot live amiss.

2. Love's sweetest mark, land's highest theme,
    Man's most desired light,
To love Him life, to leave Him death,
    To live in Him delight.
He mine by gift, I His by debt,
    Thus each to other due,
First Friend He was, best Friend He is,
    All times will try Him true.

3. Though young yet wise, though small yet strong,
    Thou man yet God He is;
As wise He knows, as strong He can,
    As God He loves to bless:
His knowledge rules, His strength defends,
    His love doth cherish all;
His birth our joy, His life our light,
    His death our end of thrall.

4. Alas, He weeps, He sighs, He pants!
    Yet do His angels sing;
Out of His tears, His sighs and throbs,
    Doth bud a joyful spring.
O Bonnie Prince, whose tender arms   
    Can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life,
    Direct me when I die.

[Slight adaptation of the hymn: Let Folly Praise What Fancy Loves
by St Robert Southwell, S.J. martyred at Tyburn, 21 February, 1595.]

We have a Facebook page dedicated to The Bonnie Prince.

Images of The Bonnie Prince
are available for distribution by writing to:
The Bonnie Prince
Golgotha Monastery Island
Papa Stronsay, KW17 2AR
Orkney, Scotland.

Cards are in the following sizes:
A7 A5 A4

Friday, November 22, 2013

How can I keep from Singing?

One of my happiest mornings was spent in 2008 in St Cecilia in Trastevere, built upon the remains of the house of St Cecilia. Time spent in the crypt of this Roman church is truly an extraordinary experience, as it is left almost as the saint would have known it, the large grain pits near which she was imprisoned, the shrine even to Minerva set there by her pagan relatives. Most wonderful was to be favoured with the key to the gated, almost ciborium like, golden chapel under the high altar where one can see the sarcophagi of the Saint, with that of her chaste husband St Valerian, through a stone lattice. I had read the wonderful account of the finding in the 1500s of her incorrupt relics, still stretched downwards as she had fallen, the blood still fresh in the wounds on her neck, and this more than a thousand years after her death. As nobody dared to touch them in this wonderful state, to this day we have no idea of what her face looked like and that is why the famous statues of her, carved by one who had seen the miracle, never show her face directly, she is always stretched downwards. There, close to her shrine, all of this came alive in my mind.

The famous phrase associated with the holy martyr we celebrate today is "singing to God in her heart", it is what holy tradition tells us she did in the direst moment of her life, and it is considered in some way why she is the patroness of musicians. I know this is a little different, and I know the words to this song, which first appeared in 1868 of unknown origin, have been somewhat de-Christianised in this more modern version, but none-the-less they fit St Cecilia very well and raise one’s heart and mind to remember a holy and innocent one, who will surely protect us in our direst needs if we call upon her intercession, singing in our own hearts.

Br Nicodemus Mary, F.SS.R.

"My life goes on in endless song, above earth's lamentations, I hear the real, though far-off hymn, that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear its music ringing, it sounds an echo in my soul... how can I keep from singing? 

"While though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the Truth, It liveth. And though the darkness 'round me close, songs in the night it giveth. No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that Rock I'm clinging. Since Love is Lord of Heaven and earth... how can I keep from singing? 

"When tyrants tremble in their fear and hear their death knell ringing; when friends rejoice both far and near... how can I keep from singing? In prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging; when friends by shame are undefiled... how can I keep from singing?" 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Notice to Friends

Until the end of February when the weather is bad or westerly, 
it is not possible to moor the monastery boat
at our Papa Stronsay pier. 

 For the next three months 
I am looking for a friend of the monastery who would 
moor the boat at Whitehall Stronsay during bad weather 
and oversee it at the pier;
 then during breaks in the weather,
return the boat to Papa Stronsay.

Could any interested friend please contact me.
Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

Contact address:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Pronouncing of Vows

On the feast of the dedication of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour, 9th November, we had the great joy of witnessing Br Peter pronouncing his temporary vows.  This date is of special significance since it marks the 281st anniversary of Saint Alphonsus founding the Redemptorists.

Brother pronounced his vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience for a period of three years, taking the religious name: Brother Peter Mary of the Listening Heart of Jesus, F.SS.R.

Br Peter, a native of Montana, USA, kneels before the Altar during the beginning of the ceremony.

 Representing death to the world and the things of the world, Brother is covered with the funeral pall.

 Brother is questioned by the Rector Major:
What do you ask?
Reverend Father, having finished the time of my probation,
I desire to consecrate myself to Jesus Christ
and to enter this Congregation...

 Then, in the presence of his Saviour and Judge, Brother says the great words:
...Therefore, having spent several days of reflection and prayer, now, in the presence of Thy Divine Majesty, of Mary most Holy and Immaculate, my Mistress and Mother, of Saint Joseph, Saint Alphonsus and the whole Court of Heaven,, prostrate on my knees, I promise and vow for three years: OBEDIENCE CHASTITY and POVERTY...

Receiving the monastic pallium.

Brother Peter Mary signs the certificate of profession upon the altar, of great mystical symbolism as by his vows he begins the sacrifice of his life to Our Lord.

 Brother Peter Mary with some of his confrères.

Happily both brother's father and mother made it to Papa Stronsay all the way from America to be with him on his great day!

We wish for Brother every grace and happiness, but especially that grace of perseverance.
Sweet Mother Mary, pray for him and obtain him this grace,
for it is thy special charge to do so. 

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