New Horizons
“In the Roman Catholic tradition, a Holy Year, or Jubilee is a great religious event. It is a year of forgiveness of sins and also the punishment due to sin, it is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, of conversion and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consequently of solidarity, hope, justice, commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters. A Jubilee year is above all the year of Christ, who brings life and grace to humanity.”

What is a Holy Year?
from the Vatican Website

“'I see clearly,' the pope continues, 'that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds.... And you have to start from the ground up.'”

A Big Heart Open to God
Interview with Pope Francis, by Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J.
And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.
Leviticus 25:10

Jubilarians2013 marks the Silver Jubilee Year of Mother Margaret Georgina Patton and Mother Dorcas Rosenlund who celebrate 25 years of Vowed life at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. On the Feast of St. Matthew, September 21st, 2013 family members and friends joined the monastic community in celebrating the lives of these incredible women. Father Iain Highet was the main celebrant and homilist at the Mass offered in the Abbey Church of Jesu Fili Mariae. Father Robert Tucker, Father Vito DiCarolis, Father John Young, Father Thomas Berberich, and Father Joseph Looney were concelebrants.

In his homily Father Iain took his keynote from the first reading, the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians,
...bearing with one another through love...
the mystery at the heart of of twenty-five years of response to Jesus' call for which we were gathered in celebration. He quoted our Holy Father Pope Francis who recently offered the image of the Church as a field hospital after a battle:
...the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.
The field hospital analogy encompasses the themes of military conflict, healing, and hospitality that have infused the lives of our jubilarians, of their genealogies and professional gifts transformed and offered in service daily through monastic life.

Margaret GeorginaMother Margaret Georgina Patton first came to the Abbey in the early 1970's while a freshman at Bennington College amidst the social turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War. She was personally implicated in the conflict through her father George S. Patton's distinguished service during three tours of duty, one as colonel, commanding the 11th Blackhorse Armored Cavalry Regiment. In conversations with our Foundress Lady Abbess Benedict, she discovered that her grandfather General George S. Patton Jr. and the American 3rd Army had liberated the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre from Nazi occupation during World War II. Mother Benedict, an American who had entered Jouarre in 1936, had the inspiration to found a monastery in the United States in response to what she described as the “lifting of oppression” by the American soldiers on the day Jouarre was liberated. As Mother Margaret Georgina became drawn to monastic life at Regina Laudis she could begin to claim the rich genealogy of her military family. She completed her B.A. in English at Dartmouth College in 1976, and entered Regina Laudis in 1982 .

In the Prologue of his Holy Rule St. Benedict describes the obedience expected of a monk:Margaret Georgina
...militans sub regula vel abbate... (serving under the Rule and an abbot)
and the call to battle the forces of evil through prayer within a contemplative monastic vocation. Mother Margaret Georgina carries this awareness in her singing of the Divine Office, especially in her love for and dedication to the Office of Matins, sung during the night. As the daughter of an army wife Mother Margaret Georgina inherited an extravagant gift for hospitality from her mother Joanne Holbrook Patton. She coordinates the work of our guests and her exquisite flower arrangements in the sanctuary of Abbey Church of Jesu Fili Mariae offer an ambiance of prayer and welcome. PoppiesTrained as a horticultural therapist after she entered the Abbey, she is responsible for the Abbey vegetable gardens and small fruit plots. She is very active in the Liturgy Deanery, especially as Mistress of Ceremonies in the church sanctuary and for paraliturgical events. She has been a member of the Abbess' Council for 12 years and is tireless in her day to day work of "quartermastering" for the community and the Church.

Mother Margaret Georgina chose this collect from her Consecration which was prayed by Father Iain during the Renewal of Vows Ceremony:
Let us pray. Lord God, Father of Innocence, who called us out of darkness, may we be so penetrated, body and soul, by your divine light that we may have the grace to stand together as a ring of faith and, being enflamed by Christ’s love, manifest your radiance to all who cry out for incorporation into the Body of your Son.

DorcasMother Dorcas Rosenlund, a native of Philadelphia, entered Regina Laudis in 1982 after distinguishing herself in two careers. Upon completion of a Masters in Public Relations at Boston University in 1950, she held positions in promotion and publishing at the Philadelphia Bulletin, American Home Magazine, Curtis Publishing and the Lily Tulip Cup Corporation. During this phase of her career, while volunteering in a hospital, she felt inspired to become a physician. Her mother's advice gave her the courage to take the radical step of beginning a new career:
In 10 years you can be a physician or in 10 years you can be wondering if you can be a physician.
She graduated as a medical doctor from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1965. She did a Residency in Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by classroom and clinical professorships at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. As a specialist in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Cystic Fibrosis she was a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Philadelphia College of Physicians, published in innumerable medical journals and was an editorial consultant for Clinical Pediatrics. After entering Regina Laudis Mother Dorcas held consulting appointments at St. Mary's hospital, Waterbury CT and Yale New Haven Hospital and was a Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine.

DorcasMother Dorcas has been the Abbey baker for 30 years. Although she no longer practices medicine per se, for her the care taken in kneading the dough for bread is similar to a physician's touch of the human body. She has taught many new community members and monastic interns to make bread according to the special Regina Laudis recipe. Her matzo is served at our Holy Thursday Mandatum and friends who celebrate Passover cherish their time with her making matzo for their sacred meal.

Mother Dorcas is a founding member of the Contemplative Medical Center, established at Regina Laudis in the 1980s at the request of Lady Abbess Benedict, herself a physician, who sensed the need for physicians to have a place of contemplative centering and support. The core group of physicians sponsors retreat days for medical students and residents from hospitals and medical schools in the area. Mother Dorcas loves gardening and landscaping and cares for the grounds of the Contemplative Medical Center as well as St. Martin's guest house.

Mother Dorcas chose this collect from her Consecration which was prayed by Father Iain during the Renewal of Vows Ceremony:
O Almighty and Ever-Living Father, O Merciful Redeemer, O Guiding Spirit, in the wisdom and economy of your Divine plan we come to you trembling with wonder at your gift of blessing. Seeking your grace we ask your enlightenment in the unfolding of our missions that we may bear fruit for the life of the Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today on the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, whose Gospel gives us the genealogy of Jesus, we offer thanks for our beloved Mothers Margaret Georgina and Dorcas celebrating 25 years of vowed life; for the unique ways in which each of them has poured all the substance of her being into the service of Christ in our community, and has included in that offering her genealogy and extended body relationships which have helped develop our life through cultural awareness and apostolic outreach from their stable contemplative base, and may they continue to enliven us by their courageous witness within and without.

Gallery of Jubilee Mass and Celebration at the Jubilee Barn