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Evansville, Indiana
December 25, 1987     The Message
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December 25, 1987

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December 25, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 15 Christmas in the cloister Communities' holiday celebrations center around the Mass By STAN KONIECZNY NC News Service Recently two contemplative religious communities shared witle the simple joys and peace of celebrating Christ's birth in the cloister. --The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters have maintained a con- tinual vigil before the Blessed Sacrament at Mount Grace Con- vent in St. Louis, Me., since 1926. Popularly called the "Pink Sisters," their pink habits symbolize the sisters' devotion to the Holy Spirit. During Advent, the 28 siste,'anging in age from 33 to 87, exchange names secretly. They offer prayers during the season and the names of the secret prayer partners are revealed during the exchange of simple, homemade gifts on Christmas afternoon. Reminiscent of this cloister's Dutch heritage, the community celebrates St. Nicholas Day Dec. 6. The sisters find that the good bishop of Myra has visited their dining room, leaving cookies and fruit beside each sist=s plate. The week before Christmas, everyone decorates the con- vent. "And they decorate everything," said Sister Mary Gamma, assistant superior of Mount Grace. "Some of the work is quite beautiful because we have a number of sisters who are artistically inclined." Holly trees and pines in the sisters' two-acre enclosed garden provide ample material to decorate community areas and individual rooms. But the decorating is a secon- dary consideration in Mount Grace's Christmas. "We are a very liturgical community," Sister Gamma ex- plained. "Our perpetual adora- tion stems from the Mass. Our whole lives center around the Mass. So our Christmas celebra- tion centers around the Mass." On Christmas Eve, the sisters sing traditional German hymns, "Holy Night Thou Art Return- ing" and "The Savior's Plea," during Vespers and Compline. After a brief rest, the sisters assist at Midnight Mass. Following the legacy of their founder, Blessed Arnold Janssen, the sisters hold a pro- cession ending in the convent. Here a figure of the Christ child is passed from sister to sister until it is placed in a crib by a sister, usually one marking a special anniversary, Another Mass begins Christmas morning at 7 a.m. 50% off For the holiday, the rule of strict silence is lifted. Christmas dinner is the tradi- tional turkey, ham and all the trimmings. The community spends Christmas night in the recrea- tion room singing carols and unwrapping gifts, mostly edi- ble, from their friends. During the days that follow, the sisters celebrate the season with songs and skits on the feast of St. Stephen or "Little Christmas," the feast of the Ho- ly Family, New Year's Day and the Epiphany. On Three Kings' Day, the sisters receive mission intentions to pray for during the new year, recalling Christ's manifestation to the gentiles. The Eucharist fosters family spirit among the nuns, but there is a bittersweet atmosphere. "I was in the convent many years before I got over missing my family at the holidays," Sister Gemma said. "I guess I still do and I think of them often during the day." "But you also feel that you benefit them more by being in the cloister because you have ample time to pray for them and you do take them with you in spirit before the Lord," she ad- ded. --The Poor Claros of Our Lady of Mercy Monastery recalled their first Christmas in Belleville, II1., in 1986. Six sisters had come from Roswell, N. M., to begin the new founda- tion. Remembering past Christmases in a large com- munity, the newcomers were deeply aware of their "lit- tleness." VINCENNES American National Bank Bicknell - Sandborn Vincennes Drive-in Facilities - Member F.D.I.C. A Full Service Bank 'rIL0 ITLO88aO0 CLASSIFIEDS 5 Only 1 perword! (There will be a $3.00 minimum charge on all classified advertising) Print your ad on this form. One word, symbol, or abbreviation per blank. Phone number counts as one word. Clip and mail to our office with payment. No Phone orders; No billing. Copy deadline is nine days preceding the Friday date of issue (a Wednesday) 20 3.00 21 3.15 22 3.30 23 3.45 24 3.60 25 3.75 26 3.90 27 4.05 28 4.20 29 4.35 30 4.50 31 4.65 32 4.80 33 4.95 34 5.10 35 5.25 36 5.40 37 5.55 38 5.70 39 5.85 40 6.00 41 6.15 42 6.30 43 6.45 44 6.60 45 6.75 46 6.90 47 7.05 48 7.20 49 7.35 50 7.50 Cost of your ad is the dollar amount that appears below the final word ($3.00 minimum) NO PHONE ORDERS--NO BILLING The Message Classifieds 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. * P.O. Box 4169 Evansville, IN 47711 , (812) 424-5536 "Yet that brought home what God did at the incarnation; he became a little child," said a spokesperson for the communi- ty. The Poor Clares observe an extended period of spiritual preparation during Advent. Closer to Christmas, every room of the monastery is decorated with a nativity scene. Greens, pine cones and candles add a festive air. "The first thing we do after putting greens around the crib is to put a sprig of evergreen behind the crucifix. The crib and the cross are all part of Christ's plan of salvation," the spokeswoman said. The main element of this cloistered community's holiday remains the gift of self to the community. "We are really in- tent on giving the gift of Jesus' love to each other," the sister noted. "The organist spends herself on learning a new pastorale; the sacristan labors to decorate the altar perfectly; the cook gives the gift of 8 delicious Christmas dinner -- all for the communi- ty. "We are a very sharing com- munity." to Jesus r i I ,: Son -- feeling Jesus Helpful, listener -- loving, caring, sharing -- Savior of the World " f0rgiving, feeling, understanding, patietl teacher -- Christ. fulie Linette Eighth grade Jesus Friend, kind, forgiving, helping, sharing. Jesus is a kind, forgiving servant Christ -- loving, caring, healing, Ser- vant, risen CJlrist. Jeremy Sermersheim Eighth grade I Ittll Seasons Greetings KOBERSTEIN'S TRUCKING SERVICE, INC. Hwy. 64 West Princeton 385-2695 385-8971 Once you taste 601 Main Street North Park Washington Square no other candy satisfie The Message Classifieds Deadline: Nine days preceding, the Friday date of issue (a Wednesday). Rates: 15 per word, symbol, or abbreviation. No minimum number of words needed. Novenas: Cost of publication for Novenas is $15.00. Please include your initials. Payment: All ads must be paid for when placed by mail. NO ADS WILL BE TAKEN OVER THE PHONE; NO BILLS WILL BE SENT. Rejections: Ads that are illegible, lacking proper payment, or that fail to meet the advertising standards of the Message will not be published. t ii i ii ii lit 1