My time at LAMP Ministries has ended.  I returned from NY on Aug. 1st to Tampa.  After having a truly awesome experience in the Bronx, I have decided to try a more contemplative ministry with the Community of St. John in Princeville, Il.  I’ll be moving there on Sept. 12th.  Less than two weeks from now!  I’ll be helping with youth retreats and other activities, taking classes with the novices, and living their prayer schedule.  I visited the community at Princeville for a silent retreat at the beginning of the month and had a great experience.  It was one of the best retreats I have been on.  They’re a great solid order and have very reverent liturgies. 


That’s about all I have to report on.  You may be wondering why I am making this post at such a ridiculous hour.  Well, coffee ice cream is caffienated.  Who knew?  I’m thinking I may as well stay up and go to 7am Mass.


I haven’t been doing too much with my time home.  I visited some friends at college in Gainesville.  I’ve gone to see my grandmother in Merritt Island with my mother for a couple weekends.  My grandfather, BJ, passed away on July 3rd – God rest his soul – and my grandmother is appreciating visitors and help around the house.  They were married 59 years.  She has dug up some fantastic old photos and other family artifacts going back over 100 years.  My grandfather made arrangements to be interred in Arlington National Cemetery in DC and the family will be traveling there on Oct. 5th for the ceremony.  3 months feels like a long time to wait to receive that closure but we were told that active duty military have priority over retirees and this is the soonest it could happen. 


Other than that I’ve gotten to visit a few other friends but have really spent a lot of time sleeping and fussing with my belongings.  I’m trying to downsize a bit after my fiasco on my trip home from the Bronx with a 110 lbs suitcase.  Apparently, that bag is too big to travel with anymore…  Less is more so they say.


I won’t have much internet access in Princeville so you may not be hearing from me via this site very much.  I still have my cell phone though thanks to Mom and Dad and there’s always snail mail!


God bless.


LAMP Video

July 29, 2009

LAMP Ministries should be the featured story otherwise search under “past stories”


A suttle stirring seeks momentum.

A gentle fluttering seeks a pulse.

Rigid restraints await distruction.

Waters are rising,

the valleys are parched.

Silently the moment rests,

with purpose and predestined peace,

’til anxiousness and desire cease.

The flow, the speed, the rush, the beat,

the phrophetic lance and full side meet.

A unity at last acheived,

accomplishing a mystery.

buzz buzz

April 22, 2009

I’m such a busy busy little bee but I wanted to post something this month!  Jeepers, it’s been a while.  I had a birthday and have now blessed this earth grand total of 22 years, 9-ish months, and 4 days.  I’ll be having my ministry schedule remolded soon as my ministry with the CCD kids ends in 2 weeks  (First Communion is May 2nd, praise God!)  and the youth group takes a haiatus for the summer months.  The crisis pregnancy center is also giving me the boot at the end of May because they have many many interns coming for the summer and they’d prefer if I could counsel more than once a week which experience has told me I haven’t the stamina for.

We went on a post-Easter retreat of sorts in Pennsylvania.  I played croquet for the first time – what a ridululous sport.  I was 40 strokes behind everyone else but it was still fun.  Mary (sitting beside me) wants me to mention that I rode the handicap chair lift down the stairs at the retreat center and bothered everyone praying in the chapel.  woops…  And we had a fabulous Easter egg hunt which was scored by several complicated calcuations I came up with based on egg color, number of candies and type of bible verse each egg contained.  The egg-hiders suprised me by adding another rule behind my back.  It resulted in me singing  “head, shoulders, knees, and toes”  in my opera voice complete with hand motions…

I’d love to type all night but this little bee has to bumble off to bed!!

-rejoicing in Jesus-

Emma Kate

My first snow day!

March 10, 2009

We got a foot of snow last Monday just so I could get some snow pictures up for my mommy.  Our meeting got canceled and I spent most of the day in.  Sorry they’re a little late.   🙂


outside my bedroom window


the school lot outside a window.


our courtyardsnow-004

the shops across the street.

The LAMP Prayer House

February 11, 2009

I’ve decided to dedicate a post to our little Prayer House.


It’s not so little really…

Since I’ve shared with you about my ministry outside the house, I thought I could share with you about our ministry inside the house.  I’ve gotten to know the house very well in these last 5 months and find many things about it quite endearing.  The 5 of us sat down after dinner a couple days ago to review our Prayer House mission and guidelines.  Here is a quote:

“The LAMP Prayer House has as its mission to live in charity before the Eucharistic Presence of the Lord on behalf of the Church and LAMP Ministries, and to serve the poor through evangelical spiritual support.  The Prayer House receives its meaning and purpose from its consecration to the hearts of Jesus and Mary within the whole service community of LAMP Ministries.”

Jeepers, that sounds like a big deal, doesn’t it?  I was glad to have it brought to my attention again.

And where do we live out this spirit of charity before our Lord? Well, right here:


Morning and Evening Prayer together daily and at least a half-hour of private mental prayer and intercession for our minsitries.  We also have permission to expose the Blessed Sacrament.  This is by far my favorite room in the House.  The women I live with are a joy to be around and will spring up from whatever they’re doing to say a rosary or chaplet together in the chapel like someone just yelled “free ice cream!”

We even keep Jesus checked in on our in/out board:



We also have a picture or statue (or 2) of our blessed mother in just about every room of the house, see the following…


Mostly, Our Lady of Guadalupe – she’s pretty big with LAMP and she’s my favorite : )

She even followed me to the March for Life…


We went with the CFRs.

Mary is even in our creepy damp basement – which is still recovering from a minor flood  :/


So is Jesus:


He’s missing some fingers.

I wasn’t lying about the creepyness:


or wetness.

What else can I share?  Oh, we have some remnants of the Dominican Sisters who lived here before us:


ut unum sint sicut et nos

“That they all may be one” – one of the /i/s is missing and it drives me nuts

Oh AND I don’t know if I’ve raved about this yet but… sinks in each bedroom – very sweet.  I’m not sure when this tradition started in convents but it’s great. Behold:


She even came equipped with a very modest floor-length sink-skirt.

We also share our house with the parish library.  It lives in our sacristy and hasn’t had but a few additions since 1975.


And the parish food pantry:


It has saved a recipe or two in our own kitchen. (with permission of course) And is overflowing with canned green beans from the Thanksgiving drive at the school next door.

Here are a few more endearing features.  At least I think they are and I’m sure I’ll miss them one day.

My tiny cave of a shower:


Our little furry friend traps everywhere:


They are somewhat humane sticky traps and if they ever succeed in accomplishing their purpose (sight yet unseen) I am very thankful for our parish/school/prayer house handyman whose job it is to kill the little guy.

Our paper turkey pinata that we made for thanksgiving and never used.


He lives in the community room.

EDIT: The turkey – along with a 14 pound frozen real turkey that was donated to us- has been bequeathed to the CFRs – Brothers Giuseppe and John Paul when they joined us for dinner last week.

Exercising with cans of beans and Richard:


Random questions shouted through the whole house on the intercom:


And the usual cry of “Hurry up, we’ll miss the train!”

We also make effective use of nightlights ever since I smacked my face into the wall one of my first nights here:


That would be the bottom of said wall…

A few more spaces worthy of noting…

Our tiny kitchen where highly choreographed maneuvers take place most mornings to grab breakfast and head out the door after Mass:


And the site of our future garden that a few of us have been planning and dreaming of all winter:


This type of space is very rare in our concrete neighborhood.

Here is another space I like to use:


That would be a blanket on the floor by our ancient heating system.  I’ve gotten used to the hissing and pounding that comes out of it and actually find it relaxing to sit by the heat in my room.

Now you know the ins and outs of this house too.  The pastor next door likes to remind us that it used to be a BP station before it was a convent but even before that it was owned by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s family.

I’m off now to Good Counsel to start our first bible study there.



So! I am back in the Bronx with lots to say. I spent a couple nights at my house-mate’s parents home in Warwick before returning to our blessed Prayer House as not to be all alone for a couple nights. It was really sweet to see her little nephews open up their gifts and be all excited about presents and grandma’s house. Her parents were kind enough to drive us back for our first CCD class of the new year.

I really enjoy my tiny class of 2 (sometimes 3). They ask the best questions and are generally interested in the faith. Right now I’m attempting to explain to them what can happen when we receive the Eucharist with faith. They don’t get why it doesn’t smoke and light up or raise people from the dead. If it’s really Jesus – shouldn’t it? At least they understand that It is powerful even if It doesn’t look it.

The crisis pregnancy center twice a week is stressful.  About half the time, which feels like quite a lot, they just don’t care.  They know it’s wrong.  They know they have access to plenty of help.  They can count their blessings, agree that their baby (and yes, they call the fetus a baby) will suffer and know perfectly well that they could die if not in the body than in the soul.  It doesn’t matter to them.  Any cost is worth it to “take it out” or “not be pregnant anymore.”  We pray with them and then they lift their 16 year old faces and ask if we’ll do the abortion for them or tell them where to go.  They have hearts of stone and it’s really sad how much they are suffering from the lies they’ve been fed their whole lives.  That their bodies are what give them value.  That sex belongs to an entire different paradigm than being a mom and having a baby.  That an abortion will somehow make them not a mother anymore or at least not a mother of this baby.  But every now and then you get to experience the Holy Spirit perform a divine heart transplant. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)  It’s a beautiful thing.  I’ve met a few moms who experienced this and they’re so grateful and they love their children and their lives aren’t any easier.  They’re harder, especially if it’s their 5th child and they aren’t yet 30 or married and they live in a shelter and they don’t make enough money and the heat isn’t working, but they chose love and life and it made all the difference.  God knows what He’s doing when he gives these women a child and I trust that and it’s why it kills me when it’s not reason enough for most of them.  I rack my brain and loose my peace over discerning the Lord’s will for me and for them it’s so clear – it’s kicking them! or at least making them throw up in the morning.

Things at Good Counsel are moving slowly.  It’s been a process for the moms to warm up to us.  We have been visiting them one on one but the staff is thinking about us teaching a class instead.

We have a few regulars now at our Saturday class at the family shelter.  If it weren’t for the screwy trains and replacement buses for all the track work I wouldn’t mind the long trip.  We have been stood up a few times when we make the 1 1/2 hour trip to take people to Mass with us.  We are called to be faithful not successful, Mother Teresa said.

Outside of ministry, I have been battling the weather and not so successfully.  The 4 + hour bus trip to DC and back for the March for Life last Thursday as left me with a yucky cold.  It was so great though to see the witness and my friends from UF.  We went with the CFR Friars and Sisters.  Two of the Friars had speakers mounted to their backs and a microphone in hand.  Many songs were sung and friends were made in the crowd.  The weather was a mere 40 degrees and I was overdressed.  Our president did not address the crowd but issued a brief statement – something about how killing is health care and an essential legal right.

I managed somehow to drag myself our of bed the next day a go ice skating with one of my house-mates.  I didn’t fall once but many a child did right in front of me who doesn’t know how to stop.

And, I know, Mom, a couple pictures would top it all off but I must relinquish the computer now.  No time to edit or spell check,  sorry.

I’m already looking forward to our week long retreat post-Easter!


Emma Katie

Christmas and New Years

December 31, 2008

So I’m still here in Florida with beautiful weather while it’s 24 in the Bronx.  My flight home was canceled because of the weather there so I’m spending New Years here and going to the early Mass for the Solemnity tomorrow before catching my new flight.  It’s been a good break from ministry but I’m ready to jump back in.  New Years resolutions, you ask?  Well, I’d like to figure out eventually what I’m doing after LAMP in September but that’s really all.  Trying to be more patient with  the Lord.  On that note,  I wanted to post a poem that Cardinal O’Connor, and therefore the Sisters of Life, admired very much.  It’s by Rev. John Duffy C.S.s.R. and is about the Annunciation.  The Sisters have a line from the poem on the back of their profession medals – “and nothing would again be casual and small.”  Thank you Lauren from the Phatmass Phorem for posting it.

The Annunciation
And was it true,
The stranger standing so,
And saying things that lifted her in two,
And put her back before the world’s beginning?

Her eyes filled slowly with the morning glow.
Her drowsy ear drank in a first sweet dubious bird.
Her cheek against the pillow woke and stirred
To gales enriched by passage over dew,
And friendly fields and slopes of Galilee
Arose in tremulous intermixture with her dreams,
Till she remembered suddenly…
Although the morning beams
Came spilling in the gradual rubric known to every day,
And hills stood ruinous, as an eclipse,
Against the softly spreading ray,
Not touched by any strange apocalypse
Like that which yesterday had lifted her sublime,
And put her back before the first grey morn of Time —
Though nothing was disturbed from where she lay and saw,
Now she remembered with a quick and panting awe
That someone came, and took in hand her heart,
And broke irresistibly apart,
With what he said, and how in tall suspense
He lingered, while the white celestial inference,
Pushing her fears apart, went softly home.

Then she had faltered her reply,
And felt a sudden burden of eternal years,
And shamed by the angelic stranger standing by
Had bowed her head to hide her human tears.
Never again would she awake
And find herself the buoyant Galilean lass,
But into her dissolving dreams would break
A hovering consciousness too terrible to pass —
A new awareness in her body when she stirred,
A sense of Light within her virgin gloom:
She was the Mother of the wandering Word,
Little and terrifying in her laboring womb.
And nothing would again be casual and small,
But everything with light invested, overspilled
With terror and divinity, the dawn, the first bird’s call,
The silhouetted pitcher waiting to be filled.

beautiful, no?

All of the Joyful Mysteries are mingled with a little bit of solemn gravity.  It’s a nice reflection for the feast tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

Happy Advent!

December 14, 2008

So, I’m a terrible updater and it just looks like since I’m such a busy body I won’t be updating as often as I’d like.

Soon I’ll be home again for Christmas. I think I have finally got a permanent schedule going so that is a relief. It is nice to know what I will be doing each day. Monday, I trade in my Formation Crucifix for the oh-so-official LAMP Mission Crucifix. yay. I am half-way through my final orientation review paper which marks the end of my orientation. I’m going to try and finish it tomorrow since I can’t stand being tardy for anything ever.

I am now at the crisis pregnancy twice a week, visiting a different shelter in Manhattan, and not going out with the Cafe.

Today I grossed out my little CCD class with the story of St. Lucy’s eyeballs. They were fabulously disgusted and intrigued, wanting to know exactly how it was done and began hypothesizing.

Tomorrow I will be springing a chastity video on the youth group – thank you Pam Stenzel. Hopefully that will get some good conversation going. Last week the guys did a great job decorating the outside of the church in the freezing weather while the ladies huddled inside.

Any other news? Our newsletter is being sent out this week. Let me know if you’d like one. It only comes out twice a year.

Have a holly jolly Christmas! And don’t forget the “reason
for the season.” 😉



The biggest apple pie I have ever made in my mother’s ridiculous polish pottery dish.  Pretty delicious I must say.  It held 8 gigantic Granny Smiths.


That would be me and our newest addition to the family, Winston – my daddy’s “replacement” kitty.  He is about 5 months and adjusting nicely.  He’s much more frisky than our old lobotomised Todd but looks almost the same.


The maternal grandparents (“Gussie” and “BJ”) and me.  To the right you’ll notice a silly pair of bear earmuffs my grandma tried to give me.


My “Aunt” Rosi and me who lives across the street from my grandparents in Merritt Island.  She’s really just a good friend of my grandma’s, not my aunt, they met as military wives overseas.  She’s originally a New Yorker and has a fabulous accent.