Sister Catherine Lash, CSC

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Diamond Jubilee 75 years of consecrated life

Sister Catherine Lash, who currently serves in a ministry of prayer, will be honored on July 17, 2016, during a jubilee celebration in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, for her 75 years of consecrated life as a Sister of the Holy Cross.

Sister Catherine has served in several locations within the United States during her life, sharing her gifts as an educator and accountant. She spent 34 years in secondary education, serving in Texas, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and Virginia, and 30 years in accountancy, 22 of which were with Holy Cross Services Corporation, Notre Dame, Indiana.  From 1984 to 1990 she held the position of religious superior with the Holy Cross community in Kensington, Maryland.

Sister Catherine was born in Alexandria, Virginia. After entering the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, in 1938, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Incarnate Word College, San Antonio, Texas. Sister Catherine made her initial profession of vows on February 2, 1941, and her perpetual profession on August 15, 1944.   

Send a Jubilee card! Your donation will make a sister’s special year even more so.

Celebrate with us

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

“On this day the trumpet is heard.
This is to be a jubilee for you!”

Seventeen Sisters of the Holy Cross will celebrate their jubilee years of consecrated life on July 17, 2016, in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, Notre Dame, Indiana. Two sisters are celebrating 75 years since their initial profession, nine are marking 50 years and six are celebrating 25 years — a collective 750 years of vowed life in the Congregation.

Between now and July 17, we will feature an honoree each day here on the blog sharing stories about our sisters and their lives of consecration and service. Join us as we rejoice and give thanks for their dedicated commitment to God, the Church and the Congregation.

Send a Jubilee card! Your donation will make a sister’s special year even more so.

Make the Needful Beautiful

Thursday, June 23, 2016

by Sister M. Veronique (Wiedower), CSC
President, Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross
One of the traditional crafts that women have perfected over the centuries is that of weaving. Whether it is weaving cloth, tapestries, baskets or stories, women have found ways to make the needful beautiful.

The women of Holy Cross are busy weaving together our 175th anniversary with Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy. A thread that is strong and resilient in both of these observances is that of compassion — suffering with and passionately caring for those we serve.

Pope Francis declared 2016 a year to experience and share in God’s mercy. At the 2014 General Chapter, we Sisters of the Holy Cross declared that we are women of compassion and hope, with deep trust in Divine Providence and with zeal for the Gospel. Mercy and compassion are two sides of the same coin, two aspects of a gift that God lavishes upon us. They are ever ancient and ever new, and once experienced, they invite us to “pay it forward” — that is, extend to others the wonder and blessing of these gifts first received through God’s grace.

We invite you to read our current issue of inSpirit following the thread of compassion as lived through the years by sisters, associates, volunteers, benefactors, employees and those we serve — our companions on the journey. These stories from around the world chronicle how being passionate about God’s mission has defined life in Holy Cross for 175 years. The stories highlight the importance of transformative relationships that last over time and space, connecting us with our ancestors in the faith and impelling us into the future with hope.

I trust that as you read inSpirit you, too, will touch into that thread of compassion from your own life’s tapestry. May these stories inspire you to “pay it forward” by sharing the gifts and talents you have received from our Provident God, making this a more beautiful, peace-filled world.

inSpirit, a publication whose name means to fill with spirit, inspire, or give energy or courage to someone, is published three times annually for friends of the congregation. Read additional issues  our website. 

Saint Joseph, a role model for fathers

Sunday, June 19, 2016

by Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

At this time when we celebrate fatherhood, in particular our own fathers, it might be well to exam how Saint Joseph carried out his parental responsibilities. We do not know a lot about him, but what we do know can give us glimpses of his role as the earthly father of Jesus.

I think many artists have been unkind in their rendition of Joseph. Too often paintings of the Holy Family show Mary’s husband as an old man with a white beard standing by a young woman and her baby son. Somehow I doubt that God would entrust his dear son, Jesus to someone who had already lived most of his life and was old enough to be Mary’s father. I would like to believe that Jesus was born to a young couple whose deep love taught him about the great commandment and how to live. Jesus needed a father who would teach him to be a man of God. Mary needed a husband with who would be able to share the responsibility of parenthood.

First of all, Joseph was faithful to his promises and commitments. Even when Mary told him she had conceived a child by the Holy Spirit and this child would be the son of God, he did not abandon her to the punishment of the Jewish authorities. He loved Mary and believed in her and did not want to get her in trouble.

Joseph was a man of faith and, knowing how hard it was for him to fathom what was happening to Mary, God sent an angel to reassure him that the baby truly was for real and he was to be the guardian, the earthly father, of the son of God. It was Joseph’s faith and deep trust in Yahweh that enabled him to believe even though he did not understand. He was willing to be a support person for Mary. He was willing to raise Jesus as his own son. He was obedient and wanted to do God’s will.

As the scriptures indicate, Joseph was a carpenter. He probably worked hard to provide for Jesus and Mary. Even though there is not much is written about Joseph, I envision him as a man of prayer who shared his wisdom with his son and taught him about life. God would only provide the best for his son, Jesus.

Like motherhood, fatherhood is a vocation. Our children are entrusted to us by God and both mother and father are called to nurture their faith by actively living it. There is a saying that “faith is caught, not taught,” and the most important people to make this happen are parents.

Saint Mary's Local Jubilee Celebration

Friday, June 17, 2016


Sisters of the Holy Cross, living at or near Saint Mary's who have spent 75, 60, 50 and 25 years of vowed life in the congregation, were honored at a Jubilee liturgy in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto at Saint Mary’s, followed by a reception.

Laudato Si’ Week

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Prayer for Our Earth

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards
your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.

Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

From Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
Learn more about Laudato Si’ and how to celebrate the anniversary at

The consequences of procrastination

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC


For much of my life I have struggled with the bad habit of procrastination.  My motto has been, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” 

 Lately I have been reflecting on just how detrimental this habit is. When we put things off, many opportunities can pass us by.  How sad it is to go to a funeral home and hear friends or family members express regrets about what they wish they had done or said to the person when he or she was alive.  It can be very painful for the person who never got around to telling the one who died just how much he meant.

An example in my own life was a time when I kept putting off a visit to a dear friend dying of cancer because I was “too busy” or more likely it afraid to face her death.  I kept making excuses.  Sadly, she died when I was out of town and I never did get that last visit.  My intentions were good, but I procrastinated just too long and now I live with the regret of not having been there at the end.

When we think of it, procrastination has to do with use of time.  It is a gift from God. All we have is the present moment.  The past is a memory and we have no control of the future.  It is up to us to use each moment well because once it is gone it is gone forever. 

Procrastination often flows into our spiritual lives.  We may postpone a needed retreat or involvement in our parish or maybe even going to confession.  We might need a spiritual director in our lives but just can’t seem to make ourselves pick up the phone and look for one.  We say we will do it tomorrow or next week.

A good exercise for each of us who belong to the “Procrastinators Club” is to reflect upon those things we have the tendency to delay. Make a list of what we usually avoid doing.  List the things you say that you will do tomorrow or when you have time but the time never seems to come.

Who in your life do you put off calling or visiting? Is there someone we need to talk to about a situation, but we find it difficult to confront others?  Think of all the good intentions that you did not carry out and later had regrets.

Procrastination can also lead to many missed opportunities. Maybe you missed out on a good job because you were late sending your resume.  Or you might have missed a chance to get a scholarship because you didn’t turn in the paperwork on time.

Hopefully you won’t be like the person who wrote the saying that if she had her life to live over she would do things like smell more roses, spend more time with friends and family, pray more, take more vacations, help more people, etc.

Let us ask our God to help us appreciate each day we are given and live that day to the fullest.  Let us pray for the grace to tackle those things in our lives that we keep putting off and do what we know needs to be done right now. 

World Environment Day

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si' focuses on ecological issues and the care of creation, attributing global climate change to human activity and calling for radical changes to the world's political and economic systems to address the issue. Read more about Laudato si' on our website.

Learn more about the Congregation’s Carbon Footprint Reduction Fund (CFRF) established to support carbon-reducing projects and to promote the use of renewable energies in sisters' local communities and congregation-sponsored ministries.

2016 Sisters of the Holy Cross Novitiate

Friday, June 3, 2016

The 2016 Sisters of the Holy Cross candidates were received into the International Novitiate at the Solitude, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana this week.
The International Novitiate helps prepare new members for living and leading in international communities and further supports its focus of being one congregation that is richly diverse in age, culture and ministry.
Joining a community of sisters is a process. The interested person spends time with a vocation director trying to discern whether God might be calling her to religious life. If the answer is affirmative, she applies to a congregation where she continues to test out her call as a candidate or postulant. If she continues to feel a call and is accepted by the congregation, her next step is to become a novice. After her novitiate is completed she makes her first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The sister lives under these temporary vows for five years before she makes a final commitment and is finally professed.
First-year novices read about and reflect on spirituality, prayer, community history and participate in faith formation (Scripture, doctrine, sacraments). They spend time in personal prayer and spiritual direction. Novices provide liturgical ministry at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto and visit the Congregation’s senior sisters. They form community together, taking turns planning and leading community prayer, cooking meals and leading community meetings. In addition to their studies, they spend time acclimating to the area and culture. They also give service to the local community. Finally, the novices take part in an intercommunity novitiate with several other congregations held once a week in Chicago. There they interact with novices from other religious congregations, share novitiate experiences and participate in workshops.
Learn more about becoming a sister or other ways you can participate in the life and work of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Grieving our losses

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

When asked if we have experienced loss in our lives, most would mention the death of a loved one.  It is true that death is a major loss, but there are other losses that also need to be grieved.

Years ago I read an excellent book by Judith Voigt entitled Necessary Losses. She focuses on the need to grieve the many losses we experience in our lives in order to be whole persons. She points out the tendency for many of us is to ignore or not to think too much about the pain different types of loss can cause. Too many people have the tendency to go from one thing to another with little thought about the affect a new experience can have on their lives.
Losses are big and small. Death, divorce, moving, losing a job, breaking off with someone you love to name a few.  Even changing schools or parishes or the death of a pet are losses. Loss also comes from becoming dependent on others to do things for us that we used do for ourselves.
Examples of some smaller, but not insignificant losses, could be not getting the promotion we expected or being excluded from an event we had hoped to attend. All of these things can affect us.
As happy as graduation is for most students, it is also a loss. It means letting go of the familiar and facing a new situation whether it is a new school or a new job. High school is different from elementary school and college is different from high school. Life in the work world is not the same as life in a college or university.
Transition takes energy and is not always easy—actually, it never is. Letting go is hard.  It doesn’t just  happen overnight. It is a process that takes time and can be very stressful. Ignoring our losses can wear us down. If we don’t grieve well we can never really let go and enter fully into the new phase of our lives.
When we do not grieve our losses we can get stuck in the past and never move ahead. An example would be the first year student in college who always talks about what they used to do in her high school or the new employee who is always comparing his new job with the one he just left. It is okay when someone is in transition, but it can be unhealthy when it goes on and on. The person can never enter fully into the present. When people refuse to give up the past they get stuck and can’t move on with their lives.

Sister Joyce Rupp wrote a book entitled, Praying Our Goodbyes. It always reminds me of how important it is to ritualize our losses and to bring God into these situations. In fact, we don’t have to bring God into any part of our lives we just have to remember that God is already with us in all of our transitions and will continue to be with us, loving us at every moment, in whatever new situation we find ourselves.