Why the Wild Goose?

Because there is a wildness about the Holy Spirit.  Fr. Dave Pivonka, one of our T.O.R. brothers, in a new video series called The Wild Goose, tells how the ancient Celts used to call the Holy Spirit the Wild Goose, precisely because of this wildness.

The Spirit blows where he wills! (John 3:8)

I can attest to this in my own life.  I grew up living the life of a faithful Catholic.  I went to Mass on Sundays, served my parish in different ways, and was even beginning a prayer life towards the end of my College career.  But I was just going along with life, until I went to a Steubenville Youth Conference as a chaperon.

At the retreat they talked a lot about knowing God's personal love, having a relationship with Him and living a life in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit.  I was hesitant because I hadn't heard any of this before.  But at the same time I saw in the speakers and most of the teens around me something that I didn't have and I wanted it!  They had a zeal for life, and love; they had the Holy Spirit!

The Saturday night of the retreat I told the Lord that I was going to give him one chance to show me this Holy Spirit and if nothing happened that was it, I was done, and I would stay content with the way I was living my life.

I opened the door of my heart a tiny crack and he absolutely flung it open!!!  I experienced His love pouring into me.  I didn't just know in my head but knew in my heart that I was personally loved by God.

 It was so overwhelming.  I was filled with His peace and joy!  His presence was so deeply personal and so intimate.

I can honestly say that from that day, from that moment, my life has never been the same.

He has taken me on a great adventure that I never could have imagined.  It has been a journey into greater freedom as I have come to know my identity as a beloved daughter of God the Father, and with many unexpected turns it has even led me to the convent!!!

Have you experienced the Holy Spirit?  Do you desire more of the Holy Spirit?

There isn't a better time to ask for this Experience and for more of the Holy Spirit than in these next 50 days between Easter and Pentecost (May 15th).

Join us in preparing for Pentecost by taking part in a Video Novena.  Over the next 50 days we will post 9 (of the 14) Wild Goose videos on our Facebook Page, that's about one every 5 or 6 days.  Each one focuses on a different aspect of the Holy Spirit and how to live a life led by Him.  Each one is only about 25 minutes but they are packed with powerful teachings and testimonies.  And they even have subtitles in Spanish!

In between each video spend time reflecting on Fr. Dave's challenges and invitations (resist the temptation to binge watch!) and begin to experience the wildness of the Holy Spirit for yourself!

Check out the trailer for the videos below:

As part of the novena, join us each day in praying the prayer below:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.  O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord,  Amen.
-Sr. Sophia Grace Huschka, T.O.R.
The following is a poem written by one of our sisters, fitting for today's mysteries.


The Father poured gifts on his Beloved,
     his Son,
As he slumbered on the Cross
     and in the tomb.

I am one such gift:
     the Son's waking dream
     the child of his heart;
     bone of his bone
     flesh of his flesh,
He clings to me.

I am my Beloved's
He is mine.

I am the Father's gift to his Son.
Christ is the Father's gift to me.
Never has possession been so sweet;
Never has dispossession been so welcome.

The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.

Visit Imprisoned Mercy Franciscan Sisters

Works of Mercy: Visiting the Imprisoned

Sr. Maria Teresa gave me a training session on the drive down to the prison a couple weeks ago. I had never ministered to prison inmates before and wanted her to share everything she could.

She started by telling me the story of the first time she visited a prison. One of the inmates tried to intimidate her by boasting of his crimes against women, but she saw through his rough exterior and found herself calmly saying words to him she wasn’t even sure she herself believed:

“The only difference between you and me is that your sins imprison you exteriorly, and mine imprison me interiorly.”

Sr. Maria Teresa would go on to become his godmother later in the year, when he was baptized into the Catholic Church. She also came to believe what she had said, and has continued visiting inmates on and off for what is now 16 years.

Her story moved me deeply, but I still found myself approaching the ministry with certain expectations. I envisioned a very institutional setting—a massive, impersonal room with stark or no religious symbols—and unfriendly inmates with blank faces and orange jumpsuits. If they were really the same as me, at least on the inside, I thought I was going to have to look past an awful lot to see that.

The two of us got our security badges, walked through a metal detector and two automatically locked doors (“You’ll never forget the sound of it shutting behind you,” Sr. Maria Teresa told me) before we made it inside the prison campus. We walked on a path across an open, grassy space where men in different-colored uniforms were standing and talking in groups. Five or six greeted us as we walked into the “multi-purpose” building, where all religious services are held. I felt the Lord was telling me to be myself, and, as I smiled, they smiled back.

We walked into the “chapel”, full of shabby chairs set up for Mass, a wall of bookshelves filled with well-used hymnals, missals and worn paperback Bibles, a makeshift altar and a small, cheap keyboard.

It wasn’t what I thought. In its homeliness and poverty, there was something attractive about it, something dear. The same was true of the men themselves. I immediately felt at home.

The first man I met—I’ll call him Brad—tore down every mental image I had of a prisoner. It was hard to define his age; his beard was salt-and-peppery, his face gentle and smooth. He had kind eyes through which I saw what I thought must be a pure soul. Brad told me how good it was to meet someone from “the Outside.”

We got to talking, and he started describing the “house” he lives in, widely known as the worst on the prison campus for behavior, conditions, and who knows what else. When he first arrived, he noticed the response many men have when you ask them how they’re doing—“Just another day in paradise”—and he started using it himself, with bitter sarcasm.

But then one day, the Lord asked him if he knew what “paradise” was. He replied, “Eden.” “And what happened in Eden?” the Lord probed. Adam and Eve walked with You, Brad thought. “And I’m walking with you,” he heard. From then on, although he kept using the same phrase when someone asked how he was, he meant it sincerely.

Brad clearly found so much joy and peace in his conversations with the Lord. He knew Him; that was easy to see. None of the other inmates had quite as much peace as he did, but each, in his own way, was on the journey.

It was a great grace to talk and joke with them as ordinary men—without the uniforms, I wouldn’t have known the difference. Perhaps, knowing my own need for God helped remove any barriers between us.

Without His protection over my life, how easily could circumstances have led me to be in the same place?

We ended the visit with Mass. The inmates led the music, read the readings, and served at the altar. The prayers we pray every day took on a new meaning for me: “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned …” Together we filed up to the front to receive communion—Jesus’ body, broken and sacrificed for all. In God’s eyes, we are all equal: His beloved children.

I found brothers at the correctional center that day. We are the same on the inside—sinners who know the Lord’s mercy.
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