The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

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Invocation

Fourth Week of Advent.

This is the shortest Fourth Week of Advent we can have: just Sunday. Sunday evening is Christmas Eve and Monday, Christmas.

For those of us who spent much of our Advent “in haste,” it is comforting to know that Mary too experienced a sense of urgency as she awaited the birth of her son. Our mental images of Mary usually don’t include her rushing about, yet she not only made haste to see Elizabeth and John the Baptist in the womb, but she also made haste to Egypt to protect her child from Herod; and I suspect when she learned of the resurrection, she made haste to tell friends and relatives too. The life of Mary gives us many examples of “holy haste.” She is a woman who “got the job done” by focusing on God’s will moment by moment, doing what was asked of her and trusting God to take care of everything else. Her “yes” to God about becoming the mother of his son also included a “yes” to trusting God in the great adventure that followed. To observe faithfully the fourth Sunday of Advent, we too need to follow Mary’s example of trust in God’s guidance as we make our “holy haste” toward the birth of his son.

“He comes to be with us, in each one of our situations; he comes to live among us, to live with and in us; he comes to fill the distances that divide and separate us; he comes to reconcile us with himself and with one another; He comes in the history of humanity to knock on the door of every man and woman of good will to offer individuals, families and peoples the gift of fraternity, concord and peace,”                                                                                   
                                                                                                                -  
Pope Benedict XVI

Thank you, God, Our loving Father and Mother, for loving us so much that you sent your only Son to us.
Thank you for these days of Advent and all the preparations we made to receive Him once again into our hearts and homes.
Please fill our hearts with peace in the midst of the feverish activity around us,
and let us recognize the face of your son in the people we encounter.
Make our haste holy as we prepare to share the joy of this day with others.
Grace us with the power of your Holy Spirit that we will continue to trust
that with God all things are possible in our lives and in the life of the World.

http://www.austindiocese.org/newsletter_article_view.php?id=1066

http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1101.asp

http://www.simpleliving.org/indexoth.php?place=archives/XB/XB1996Reflect.php#Advent4    

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