Our world is in turmoil. Our military is challenged from within and without. Our culture seems in many ways adrift, having lost its moorings. But there is so much good, and the spirit of self-sacrifice is in evidence everywhere if we look for it. That we are here today with you, witnesses to the truth that 'greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends'.
Mother Subprioress Margaret Georgina Patton

Mother SubprioressOn August 27, 2017 we celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the day in World War II that the Allied forces liberated the small French village of La Ferte sous Jouarre, and with it the ancient Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre. Jouarre had been occupied by the SS and Mother Benedict Duss, an American citizen and surgeon, had been in hiding for years inside the monastery. The act of Liberation by the American 3rd Army inspired her to make a monastic foundation in the United States.

On this clear sunny day our Subprioress, Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, granddaughter of General George S. Patton Jr., welcomed active service members, veterans and many relatives of veterans including mothers, wives, children, and grandchildren. The veterans present have served in several wars, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf War. Mother Subprioress presented the accent of this year's ceremony as "Dedication in Service" highlighting those who support and care for our veterans.
In recent times, because of many converging circumstances: multiple deployments, advances in medicine that make healing possible, widespread terrorism all over the world, we are faced with the seemingly limitless need for healing and assistance of every kind in our returning veterans.
Two of our invited speakers have given their lives in service, particularly in support of active military members, veterans, and military families.

LucyLuz Fernandez-Aviles, sister of our own Sister Maria Evangelista Fernandez, is a Gulf War veteran who served for 9 years in the US Army reserves. She was deployed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she worked as a Petroleum Supply Specialist. She has received many awards and accolades for her service in the military. Some of these include the Army Commendation Medal, Certificate of Achievement, the Army Achievement Medal, New York State Assembly Citation, and the New York State Senate Liberty Award.

Luz works with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and hopes in the future she can continue assisting the younger generation of veterans. Her love of family and people is one of her best qualities and is what keeps her motivated in finding ways to better the lives of those around her. Luz was inducted this year into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

The VFW is based on camaraderie. It is Veterans helping other Veterans and their family members. The VFW gives you the freedom to be able to express yourself and be understood in ways that only another Veteran could understand. It’s a place to heal and move forward. In the future I hope to be able to invite Veterans of all generations to join us and share with them how having faith in God can heal and free us from the wounds we cannot see.
Luz Fernandez-Aviles, Gulf War Army veteran, member of the VFW Post 2813, Woodside, NY

In Luz' moving speech she bore witness to her deep Faith in God, telling us that during her deployment, her parents, siblings, relatives and friends were praying for her.
And during all the time I spent there, I can honestly say that I was never afraid. I had a sense of Peace in a time of war. I truly felt as if God himself came to me and said 'Fear not, for I am with you'. The whole time I was there, I felt protected, as if I had an Army of Angels watching over me.

Joanne PattonAnother honored guest was the mother of Mother Subprioress, Joanne Holbrook Patton, widow of General George Patton. Joanne was accompanied by her sister, Marni Holbrook Roberson. Their father, Brigadier General Willard Holbrook served in WWII, liberating the Austrian city of Linz without a shot. Marni is also the recent widow of Vietnam veteran Robby Roberson.

Joanne Patton has worked tirelessly with various groups supporting military families, in particular the National Military Family Association, which has named a scholarship in her honor and Operation Troop Support. She advocates tirelessly through her membership in various service organizations for persons with disabilities, including veterans. Joanne embodies the strength of an "army wife" having providing stability for her five children during her husband's tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam. With her characteristic humility and grace, she recounted how she discovered that other military spouses needed to talk and through the simple gesture of an invitation to tea, allowed them to share their burdens. She urged each of us to find a way to serve, be it as simple as lending an ear and offering a word of support.

army soldiersWe were pleasantly surprised and honored with the presence of two active Army Officers, Lt. Colonel P. Anela Arcari and her colleague, Colonel Eloy Cuevas, dressed in their Army Combat Uniforms. Anela is the daughter of Patty and Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Joseph Arcari, relatives of Mother Noella. Anela serves as an Engineer Officer at Fort Belvoir, VA and is proud to have served twice in "Patton's Own" 3rd Army in Kuwait from 2003-2004 and 2015-2016. Colonel Cuevas is a Military Intelligence Officer, Deputy G2, stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, SC, and is presently serving in the 3rd Army. Both proudly pointed out their US Army Central (3rd Army) Combat Service Identification Badges.

WWII Navy Veteran Sonny Rainone
For the first time long-time friend of the Abbey, WWII veteran Sonny Rainone, participated in our flag raising ceremony. Serving in the United States Navy, Sonny piloted an LST (Tank Landing Ship) to Juno Beach in the 2nd wave of D-Day.

Luz Fernandez-Aviles raised the American flag with Mother Alma Egger. The flag belonged to Mother Alma's recently deceased father, Fred, himself a veteran. LTC Anela Arcari and Colonel Eloy Cuevas raised the Vatican flag. To honor the men and women who risked and gave their lives for the original liberation of Jouarre in 1944, and veterans and the families present, we said the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem. In singing the Salve Regina, we placed the ongoing work of Liberation of peoples and lands in the hands of Our Lady, with this heartfelt prayer of Mother Subprioress Margaret Georgina Patton:

We hope that Regina Laudis will always be a beacon of hope both for those suffering the effects of war and combat of whatever kind, and for those who are called to assist in the healing, rehabilitation, or restoration process.

Watch the Raising of the American Flag in St Pius Hay Field, August 27, 2017

Gallery of the Commemoration of the Liberation of Jouarre 2017


St. Michael

On August 27th under the gaze and protection of St. Michael the Archangel, the community and guests gathered in St. Pius hay field for our annual commemoration of the Liberation of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre. Regina Laudis was conceived in the heart of our Foundress, Mother SubprioressLady Abbess Benedict Duss when this ancient French abbey was liberated by the American Third Army under the leadership of General George S. Patton Jr. during World War II. As is our custom on August 27th, we welcome veterans, widows, parents and families of deceased veterans; active service members and friends to our flag-raising ceremony.

Our Subprioress, Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, granddaughter of General George S. Patton Jr., set the tone for our ceremony:

It is our constant work to give ourselves to the continuity of this act of liberation, and our Foundress’ decisive response to it. Our world, our country continues to be enmeshed in war and violence with the now ever present threat of terrorism. We can neither forget the cost of liberation, nor ever cease working for the liberation and personal dignity and freedom of each other person.

We gather on this day to acknowledge the sacrifices that have made possible our being here for and with you.

We are conscious in a very particular way this year of the continuity of service as we have gathered here veterans, wives and families of veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and Afghanistan.

veteranMother Subprioress welcomed some of our special guests present this year: Jim Rogers who piloted a Navy boat at Utah Beach on D-Day and mentor to Sister John Mary in the development of fragrances, accompanied by Dave Smith; Al Yagovana of the American Legion, Seymour, CT; Richard Smith and Jimmy Jenneti of Catholic War Veterans and their wives; John P. Tromba, retired Army officer; Gregory Gordon, Flotilla Staff Officer, Coast Guard Auxiliary; Helen Kaiser-Pedersen, Gold Star mother whose son, Special Forces Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel, died serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in March 2013; Mr. Edward Christiano who served in the Pacific Theater during WWII; Roseann Franco, whose husband Freddy was a veteran of WWII; Margaret Brokaw, WWII army nurse in the Pacific Theater and beloved friend of our Mother Irene; Mr. Bob Herlihy, a Marine Veteran with his wife Dolores, Patty and Colonel Joe Arcari who served in Korea and Vietnam, and parents of Lt. Col Anela Arcari, active service member in the Army Engineer Corps and veteran of service in Somali, Kuwait, and Afghanistan;veterans Vietnam Veteran John Carabetta who served in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Blackhorse under the command of Mother Subprioress' father, Major General George S. Patton; and Mr. Michael Rawstorne Caroe, a native of Great Britain, our stalwart ally in WWII. Mr. Caroe served in the 15th-19th Hassars Regiment of the British Royal Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, Commander of a Cromwell Tank Squadron who saw action in Germany and France.

We were honored with the presence for the first time of WWII veterans Jean and Ed Tierney who served in the Air Force Air Corps. Jean served as a Flight Nurse based in England at the time of D-Day on C-47s that brought the wounded back from the front lines. She later served in Germany, bringing back displaced persons, POWs, and those interned in concentration camps. Jean has photographs of her unit delivering gasoline to the front lines under the command of Mother Subprioress' grandfather, General George S. Patton Jr. Ed Tierney was a C-47 pilot, who also served during D-Day, and later in Russia. Both Jean and Ed raised the American flag at our celebration. Two years ago they were awarded the Legion of Honor, Chevalier, by the French Government, to thank them for their service. The Tierneys' presence with us was made possible by Karen Hatcher, former development officer at Gaylord Hospital and her husband Pat, a Vietnam Veteran.

Abbess David and Mother DoloresAnother accent of liberation that we highlighted this year was the sacrifice of British citizens in support of the D-Day invasion. Abbess David and Jubilarian Mother Dolores Hart, celebrating 50 years of Vows, had just returned on August 26th from a jubilee pilgrimage to England, the homeland of Abbess David’s maternal genealogy. We learned of a perhaps lesser known, feminine element of the Liberation: citizens on the South coast of England giving up their homes in order to provide a base for allied troops to train before the invasion. In 1943 families were asked to pack up their homes, shops and possessions and to relocate for one year. Farmers had to evacuate their animals and taking what crops that could be harvested, left their land. It was a reminder to us of how much collaboration is required among peoples and nations in the effort to guard freedom and to build peace.

two abbesses
Mother Abbess and Abbesse Christophe
November 2015
Our ceremony ended with an unexpected highlight. Before the singing of the Salve Regina and the final blessing, Mother Abbess Lucia shared a message, sent that morning via email to Mother Telchilde, from Abbesse Christophe of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre, who had visited Regina Laudis in 2015. Her historic visit on the Feast of All Saints was the first time an abbess of Jouarre had visited Regina Laudis. Abbesse Christophe prefaced her personal message with a quote from the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson which we had highlighted at last year's celebration of the Liberation.

'In fact there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and a desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy...you begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.'

Pouvez-vous dire à votre Mère Abbesse, à Mère Margaret et à toute la communauté, notre union de prière et d'action de grâces en ce 27 août? Tant de 'golden boys' ont donné leur sang pour que notre pays retrouve sa liberté! Nous n'oublions pas! Aujourd'hui nous espérons que nos vies consacrées, de part et d'autre de l'Atlantique, forment un pont de paix pour soigner les violences et les blessures de notre temps!

To Mother Abbess, Mother Margaret Georgina and the entire community, in union of prayer and the action of grace on this August 27th: So many Golden Boys have given their blood that our country might regain her liberty! We will not forget! Today we hope that our consecrated lives, on on both sides of the Atlantic, form a bridge of peace to heal the violence and wounds of our times!
Abbesse Christophe Brondy, Notre Dame de Jouarre, August 27, 2016

Gallery of the Commemoration o f the Liberation of Jouarre 2016


St. Michael

In fact there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and a desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy...you begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
From the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

LiberationEvery year on August 27th we have a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the Liberation of the French Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre during World War II by the American Third Army under the leadership of General George S. Patton Jr. On this day Regina Laudis was conceived in the heart of our Foundress, Lady Abbess Benedict Duss. This year August 27th was a glorious bright sunny day and again we welcomed Veterans; widows, parents and families of deceased Veterans; active service members and friends. They participated in the raising of the American and Vatican flags, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and the Salve Regina.

Our Subprioress, Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, granddaughter of General George S. Patton Jr., is the Mistress of Ceremonies for the celebration. It has been a great joy over the years to welcome World War II Veterans of 503rd Military Police Battalion, Company B who served under General Patton. Sister GregoryThis year we were honored by the presence of Mauro Biondo who traveled with his son Christopher from Maryland for the commemoration. Mauro was one of the Military Police assigned to the apple orchard in Nehou Normandy where General Patton and his command staff were sequestered during the summer of 1944. Lady Abbess Benedict perceived this orchard as a "place of contemplation" for General Patton, before he would lead the Third Army's drive through the Breakout at Avranches and six countries—France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Another World War II Veteran attended our ceremony this year; Mr. Michael Rawstorne Caroe who represented Great Britain, the United States' stalwart ally in WWII. Mr. Caroe Mr. Caroe, a good friend of the Abbey today, served in the 15th-19th Hassars Regiment of the British Royal Army and as a 2nd Lieutenant and Commander of a Cromwell Tank Squadron, saw action in Germany and France. Mr. Caroe proudly wore his military beret and tie with his regimental colors.

We were honored to welcome other guests to our celebration, among them Laurie Joseph, the daughter of Deacon Peter Joseph, also of the 503rd M.P. Battalion, Company B. Deacon Peter, who died this past December, was the one who first introduced the Abbey to Veterans of the 503rd. The American flag, which was flown over the Capitol in honor of the 503rd MP Battalion, was raised by Laurie in her father's honor with Mauro Biondo. The Vatican flag was be raised by Kathy Ciocci and her daughters Erin and Carly. Kathy lost her husband Stephen to cancer in February and our Mass was offered in his memory. He was known as a man of great faith, humble, compassionate and a proud American.flags

We again welcomed Helen Keiser-Pedersen and her husband Bob. Helen is a Gold Star Mother—her son, Special Forces Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel died serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in March 2013. Jim Rogers joined us again. He piloted one of the boats that came in on Utah Beach on D-Day and has more recently been mentoring our Sister John Mary in the creation of new fragrances. Patti and Joe Arcari, parents of Lt. Col Anela Arcari, presently serving in Kuwait, joined in the ceremony.

Jim Mitchell, here with his wife Anne Marie, recently shared with us that his father, Corporal Arlington Mitchell, served in the United States Army, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment and fought in Italy from Christmas Eve, 1944 until the summer of 1945. His regiment was responsible for the battles at Riva Ridge in Italy to prevent the Germans from returning to Germany at the end of the European campaign.

The challenge for us as we commemorate the Liberation of Jouarre is to ask what Liberation means to us in the present each year. One of our novices, Sister Gregory, offered her reflection, highlighting someone who is currently giving his life for others.

The Liberation of Jouarre and the Power of Mercy

Sister Gregory Pope Francis recently announced that beginning on December 8th of this year, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Catholic Church will enter into what he has called an extraordinary jubilee Year of Mercy: a year to bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. December 8th will also mark the 74th anniversary of the United States' entrance into World War II, the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Somewhat less well known, December 8th is the anniversary of my entrance into the monastery. It was the culmination of a process that began 20 years ago, when I came to the last abbey fair and received an exquisite crown of flowers made by the nuns. That floral crown, which I have kept to this day, reminded me of my encounter with a place of beauty, a place where my soul felt met, a place that proclaimed the goodness of God. August 27th marks moment of conception for that place, this abbey, and in preparation for the coming Year of Mercy, I would like to reflect on what happened on the day of the liberation of Jouarre, how the struggle for liberation continues today, and how mercy comprises the front line of this fight.

So let us return back to August 27th of 1944. A young American nun in France, Mère Benoit Duss, is hiding from the Nazis. When the liberating troops drive off the Germans, she recognizes from the monastery tower the star on the Allies' tanks and realizes that it is the Americans who have freed her from captivity. Taking in their exhausted yet vigilant bodies, and then a large American flag, she recounts, 'I had to do something. They had been willing to give their lives, and I could feel for the others, the ones who had given their lives so that these men could be here this day.' A vision is born within her to bring the gift of contemplative life to the United States in response to their incredible sacrifice. The vision surprises her, shakes her foundations. She had deliberately left America behind and completely identified with her French abbey. And yet her birth country had entered a broken Europe and freed her—a gift she had not sought or earned from them. A profound experience of mercy. As she contemplates how she could match such a gift, a member of her community, Mère Étienne, comes to her with a roll of Lifesavers that had been given to her by some of the soldiers. She wants Mère Benoit to have the first one, and asks for a message she could take back to the Americans. Mère Benoit, the future Lady Abbess, looks around and sights a beautiful pale yellow rose. She offers it to Mère Étienne to take to them saying, 'This is my message.'

Just MercyReturning to our present time, if there is a person to whom I would give a rose today, in gratitude for the ongoing sacrifice required for liberation, it would be a man named Bryan Stevenson. On a different front, he fights for the poor and incarcerated. The community has recently read his autobiography Just Mercy, which recounts Stevenson's decades as a lawyer who founds the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization to defend people given sentences of death or life imprisonment that stem not from justice, but from poverty, racism, and negligence. He writes of his advocacy for Herbert Richardson, a Vietnam veteran who suffered extreme physical and mental trauma after enlisting at eighteen, especially when his entire platoon was killed in an ambush. Returning to the U.S., disabled and tortured by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he ended up on Alabama's death row when a bomb he made inadvertently killed a young girl, Rena Mae Collins. The jury never knew of his struggles with PTSD; how his mind had never fully left the horrors of the Vietnam jungle. Despite Stevenson's efforts, Richardson was executed.

In his plea for mercy for his clients, Stevenson urges us to consider that each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done. He asks us not to attempt to hide or eliminate all the broken people, realizing that we have each been broken in some way, either through our own choices or events beyond our control. He writes, 'In fact there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and a desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy...you begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.' Herbert Richardson's main preoccupation in the week leading to his execution was that his widow would receive an American flag from the government upon his death. In this, I believe he wanted to be remembered not for the worst thing he had ever done, but for what he saw as the best thing he had ever done: he put his life on the line to serve his country.

Yet I would say that in the eyes of mercy we are not only more than the worst thing we have ever done, we are more than the best thing we have ever done. I have a vision of what it would be like for us to come to the end our lives and face the judgment seat of God. Standing at the gate of heaven we would make a case to show what we had done with our lives. If we were honest, each of us would reveal some things of which we were ashamed, and some things of which we were most proud, the best and the worst of what we had done with our lives. After we would finish our case, I picture a beautiful woman, a gracious advocate, approaching us to say, “That is an interesting perspective on what you have done with your life. Now, would you like to me show unto you what God has done with your life? And what would then unfold before our eyes might be our greatest encounter with mercy. Like a rose unfurling, we would see our lives opened up, stretching from forever to forever, every good deed rippling out infinitely, and shockingly every moment of brokenness a place of entrance for God, connecting us with one another in our humanity. Then the lady would turn her eyes of mercy towards us and say, 'This is the kingdom of God. You are, and have always been, free to enter.'

I would invite you now to look around. To enter this world of trees and field, birds and blue sky, the people beside you. Recall moments of encounter on this land: with a flower, an animal, a strain of chant, the smell of fresh-baked bread, the taste of thick, creamy milk, a piercing word, a look of compassion, a vision of beauty. This is the rose of Lady Abbess unfurling. On August 27th 1944 there was no way she could have known what would blossom forth from her experience of mercy and liberation. There is no way the American soldier who received her rose, kissed it, and burst into tears could fully know that his sacrifice and those of his brothers in arms would lead to this place of life, of sweetness, of hope. They could not know all that God would do with their lives. We are privileged on this day in particular to have a glimpse of the kingdom of God, to see the mercy of God. To be here is to be liberated by knowing we are more than the worst thing we have ever done, we are more than even the best thing we have ever done. Because we belong to God, and in mercy God takes our lives, our beauty and our brokenness, and weaves it into a love that flows from forever to forever.

You are welcome to download a copy of Sister Gregory's presentation: The Liberation of Jouarre and the Power of Mercy. Read more about the book Just Mercy and author Bryan Stevenson's work as the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Gallery of the Commemoration of the Liberation of Jouarre 2015


Mother Alma Every August 27th we have a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate the Liberation of the French Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre during World War II by the American Third Army under the leadership of General George S. Patton Jr. This was the day that Regina Laudis was conceived in the heart of our Foundress and first abbess, Lady Abbess Benedict Duss who was an American member of the Benedictine community of Jouarre. On that hot August afternoon in 1944, at the sight of the determined soldiers advancing on their drive towards Germany, she had the inspiration to found a Benedictine monastery in the United States to thank the Allies for their sacrifice in liberating Europe. (Read more about the founding of Regina Laudis.)

Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, granddaughter of General George S. Patton Jr., is the Mistress of Ceremonies for the celebration which takes place at the conclusion of the Mass of the day for the Feast of St. Monica. We welcome Veterans; widows, parents and families of deceased Veterans; active service members and Abbey guests. They participate in the raising of the American and Vatican flags, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

This year Maria and Rich Maggi raised the American flag which belonged to their father Peter Maggi, a World War II Veteran who served in Patton’s Third Army in France. Maria, when she worked for Paulist Press, collaborated with Mother Placid who illustrated some of the books in the Press’s Classics of Western Spirituality series. It was only after Mother Placid's death that Maria learned of her father's probable participation in the Liberation of Jouarre which gave birth to Regina Laudis. We were honored this year with the participation of members of the Catholic War Veterans Color Guard, some of whom were World War II Veterans and their Chaplain Father Charles Hagearty who celebrated the Mass. It was a joy to have Mother Anastasia's niece, Naval Petty Officer 3rd Class Rachel Morgan, wearing her Navy working uniform, participate in the ceremony.

We were privileged on this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Jouarre to have a presentation by World War II veteran Jim Rogers. In February, 1944, while in his late teens, Jim set off for Europe as a member of the US Navy Amphibious Forces. In his extremely moving speech, Jim offered both a personal and historic perspective from his vantage point as a member of the Military transporting troops to the beaches of Normandy.

I’ve always had a very special regard for those that we carried and landed—for what they went through, for all that we in the Navy went through right up until the landing. Once off the ship, they had to walk all the way to Germany, getting shot at along the way. Funny thing, they couldn’t get off the ship fast enough, they said they couldn’t dig a foxhole on a ship. The differences in training were evident. The soldiers on board couldn’t wait to get off the ship and dig a hole for security, the sailors couldn’t wait to get off the beach and into open water. We survived that day with gratitude for God’s gift of life, with some bitter and some inspiring memories, and some we were eager to forget. We had a new outlook on life especially how strong but fragile it could be.
Jim Rogers, World War II Veteran, August 27, 2014

challengeJim recounted meeting our beloved Mother Irene before her death last July. She was a World War II army nurse who landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-day plus 10. In his speech he vividly describes the conditions under which Mother Irene and the nurses in the field hospitals worked:
She and her group operated under very trying physical, mental and logistical situations. They handled those who couldn’t make it to the two hospital ships anchored just off the beach or the base hospitals in England, a day away by ship. Every few days they had to take down and pack up everything into their trucks and move on a few miles and set up again, operating room, recovery, triage etc.
His description was all the more poignant because Mother Irene's dear friend and fellow World War II Army nurse, Margy Brokaw, participated in the flag raising ceremony.

Jim Rogers has graciously made his speech available here for you to read and/or download. It is an historical document for the statistics and details he provides concerning logistics, the number and type of warships, and the number of Military of the Allied Forces involved in D-Day. And Jim's speech is even more precious because it is the personal account of one who "was there and saw it all".

Jim ended his reflection with a message to the monastic community.
Finally, to the Benedictines among us today and those who have gone before, your willingness to sacrifice everything for the good of humanity is not only between yourself and God. There are many of us who know how necessary it is, especially in today’s world. The world needs you, we need you. You never forget us, let us never forget you.

As we ended the ceremony singing the Salve Regina imploring Our Lady "To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears..." we prayed for all those in harm's way, and that we would never forget the price of liberation and those who make it possible.

Gallery of the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Jouarre


Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death.
Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter VIII, 59)

Banner Procession August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, is the Feast Day of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, named for the "Queen of Praise". The dogma of Our Lady's Assumption, promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950, that Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven, holds great significance for our community. Because Our Lady was assumed bodily into heaven she became the Gateway to Heaven for all Humanity.

On this feast we have a procession of colorful banners in Our Lady's honor. Some banners, created by Mother Placid, Mother Praxedes and Abbey artists throughout the years, celebrate a a title given to Our Lady such as Our Lady of Guadalupe or closer to home, Our Lady of the Way, the sculpture that graces the entrance to Regina Laudis. Other banners express invocations of Our Lady's Litany such as Turris Davidica (Tower of David). This year we processed in the garden on the west side of our Church Jesu Fili Mariae. This beautiful setting was landscaped by Sister Esther who renewed her First Vows at Mass on the Feast and carried the cross during the procession.

In many traditional agricultural communities, long before the promulgation of the dogma of the Assumption, August 15th was celebrated as the transition from summer to fall, when herbs, fruits and herds were blessed. We ask Our Lady on this Feast to assume the work and activities of the busy summer months: the work on our land in the gardens and hay harvests, births in our herds and flocks, new fencing around pastures, and theater productions at The Gary-The Olivia Theater. And we ask her especially to assume the burdens and intentions carried in the hearts of all who visited and prayed at Regina Laudis this summer. Under Our Lady's banner and with her intercession, may we continue our mission to praise God at all times, in all we do, as expressed by our motto, Non recedat laus—Let praise never cease!

Gallery of the Procession of Banners on the Feast of the Assumption—August 15, 2014