Sister Regina Comic Strip

Sister Regina is a fictitious Handmaid who appears almost every week on this site, on our Facebook page, and in our Twitter feed. She gives those outside the cloister an idea of what life within the monastery can be like. Click any cartoon to see a larger image.

Sister Regina the cartoon is not published during the seasons of Advent, the Christmas Octave, Lent, or the Easter Octave to not only allow the Handmaids to more deeply enter into those times of more intense prayer, but also to encourage others to do so as well.

OK...we all know what is happening this week and we are all praying about it. Of course, we mean All Souls Day! Our nation undeniably needs unity and healing but without prayer and sacrifice, elections alone will not solve the deeper problems in our society. So let us entrust all our elected leaders to the intercession of the Saints and the Holy Souls as Saint Paul advises us. While it is easy to point far up the ladder to blame whoever is at the top, it is easy to forget that true conversion starts with the self. And harder still to do it. We need to be faithful Catholics. That will enable us to flourish as good citizens as well. PRAY AND SACRIFICE for them, whether or not you agree with them. Their salvation, and yours, may very well depend on it.

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As Fall approaches people could be forgiven for looking forward to the end of 2020. Or even for anticipating 2021 a little gun shy, leery of what the next disaster might be. There has been no lack of material leaving the year 2020 not only historic but the subject of many jokes as well.

It is well to remind ourselves that the acronym A.D. is more than one system of marking time among others equally useful. It is not simply some utilitarian reflection of the use of a certain calendar. Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, shortened to “A.D.”, was usually placed before the year number to ensure the year was in reference to Jesus. Not the other way around.

Our God is outside time. He is it’s Creator and master. This mysterious thing we call time and place numbers on is neither something we manage nor control. It is not ours except in how we choose to use it. It is a gift. We can ask why A.D. 2020 has been so difficult but it might be better to thank God that we have made it to 2020 at all. This time given to us is a gift. And mercy.

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Meus maxime mortificatsio est vita communis. In English, “My greatest mortification is community life.” Saint John Berchmans

While that can be true, so can a surprising contrast, “Community life is my greatest joy.”
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There’s much to be excited about this week and it’s not the secularized macabre celebration on Oct 31st of ghouls and goblins and vampires. Rather all Americans, all Knights of Columbus, and all priests - and frankly anyone loving that great cloud of witnesses Saint Paul speaks of - can praise God in thanksgiving for the beatification of Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus on, appropriately enough, All Hallows’ Eve in Connecticut. How the timing certainly helps put the right perspective on Halloween, All Saints, and All Souls’ Day. How America needs true Saints at this moment in our history! Father McGivney’s cause has moved forward one step but even now, may he intercede for our sin-sick land as he did for physically sick little Mikey Schachle from Tennessee.

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You know it’s Advent When the Masks are Violet

It’s beginning to look like Advent. A simple wreath. A different breviary. Different hymns. No Gloria. Violet vestments. Ah yes, and violet masks. There was some joking when masks and lock downs began in earnest earlier this historic year that we all hoped we wouldn’t have to see masks in Advent. But Covid-19 seems determined to stay around into 2021.

Are you going to let that be a determining factor in the joy of the upcoming season of anticipation and expectation as we prayerfully await the coming of the Infant King? If Mary and Joseph didn’t let a census take away their joy as they prepared to welcome Jesus, then we don’t have to either. As inconvenient as it was, they saw readily the Hand of God in the matter and trusted. That trust didn’t diminish the trials and dangers they faced. It meant God was with them through it all and quite literally in fact. Think about it. Do you feel helpless in the face of this pandemic and unrest? Who is more helpless than a babe in the womb? Jesus was right there with Joseph and Mary in every difficulty. Just as he is with us. He is “God with us” Emmanuel.

O Come O Come Emmanuel!

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What do you mean, ANOTHER cat?

A news update from Cor Jesu Monastery: Gertrude (named after Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, patron saint of cats and cat lovers...at least since 1983) joins Gunther in anti-squirrel operations. Though trim and tiny, Gertrude shows great promise as an ally in the squirrel wars. Gunther, now a medically retired hunting veteran, will be showing Gertrude the ropes as to monastic living for cats before he resumes what can only be referred to as ‘therapy cat’ duties. [He refuses the moniker ‘house cat’ and feels he must have a job. He still hunts and patrols indoors.]

But this also means that Shadow, Gunther’s cartoon alter ego, needs his new companion in cartoon-land to have an appropriate name as well. So we are accepting suggestions to suit the duo of a solid 11 pound Russian Blue male 3 year old and a Dilute Tortie female 7 month old who hasn’t approached even 6 pounds on the scale.

May y’all have a Blessed and safe Thanksgiving! We are are grateful for each and every one of you and send a special note of thanks and appreciation to our special veterinarian and her staff.

We’ve also added a few kitten related items to our Amazon wishlist and remain indebted to all our friends and benefactors.

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How does the cat discern?

Yes, we are sort of sharing some of our news regarding how we are going to manage Come and See visits during COVID. But, thanks to the amazing qualities of fictional cartoons, we can do so all while respecting the privacy and discretion of the women discerning their possible religious vocations.

When you are lighting a fire with a match or a spark, you are careful not to expose the early flame to too much wind or it will go out. Gunther, however, has no such reservations. And he’s very discriminating about who can rub his ears. #sisterreginacomicstrip
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All God’s Creatures Got a Place In The Choir

Do you remember singing, “All God’s Creatures Got A Place In The Choir?” Yes, everything and every little thing was indeed made by God for a purpose even when we can’t know precisely why that is. In Heaven, adoring God in the Beatific vision, it’s unlikely that we will feel the need to ask, “Lord, why did you create the lady bugs that bite and stink and aren’t so lady like?” But we can practice now being grateful for them. After all, they do eat aphids and are fairly cute.

Being grateful even for things we can’t understand, or even like, is wonderful preparation. Preparation for what? Growing in holiness. Joyful gratitude is the hallmark of the Saints. So next time you want to complain about those little bugs, thank God for them instead.

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We are never alone

This week we celebrate two great feasts, that of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael followed by the feast of our Guardian Angels. We’re never alone and God’s mighty hosts are always at our side to help us stay on the right path - the path to Heaven.

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GOOD NEWS!
We’re off to pray more deeply and there are more of us to pray! It’s time for our annual retreat from Oct 15th through Nov 1st! So while pre-scheduled cartoons will appear, we will really be deep in the desert in prayer with our Lord remembering all your needs and intentions. That also means that we will be limiting communications. Prayer requests, as ever, will still be received and held up before the Blessed Sacrament.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
We couldn’t slip away into silent prayer without first sharing more good news after our first foray into COVID-era Come and See visits:

We are happy to announce that Chrissy will be entering our Aspirancy program. She joins Aspirant Maria and Aspirant Renae and we rejoice for them all and ask your prayers for their ongoing discernment with us.

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ANOTHER HELPER TO SANCTIFY THE WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA

On Saturday October 10th the Italian teen Carlo Acutis will be beatified. Since one of his great apostolates, even as a pre-teen, was using the internet to evangelize and catechize the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist, he will be a wonderful patron for social media. His tomb depicts many scenes from his amazing, but short, life including his use of computers, the internet, and social media. In one small panel on his tomb you can even find small icons representing the most common social media platforms.

This tiny detail in the tomb of a holy youth now being held up to the world as an example of sanctity assures us that the seeming acceptance of the lack of civility in many online interactions does not have to be. It should hit us right between the eyes that Blessed Carlo maintained charity and enthusiasm as a teenager in the modern world. That is as wonderful as it is hopeful. May we all follow his lead. Because it was his wish to lead souls to Heaven.

Quotes of Blessed Carlo Acutis:
“To always be close to Jesus, that’s my life plan. I’m happy to die because I’ve lived my life without wasting even a minute of it doing things that wouldn’t have pleased God.”

“The Infinite is our homeland. We have always been expected in Heaven.” #sisterreginacomicstrip
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Double Holy Years and Our Need For Them Now

As 2021 gets further underway and more people begin to question if 2021 is going to make 2020 look very good in hindsight, remember to keep focus. On what? Not the news. Or social media. Or the internet. Or rumors. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He’s already planned out the perfect 2021 for our eternal good, so we need to let him have his most holy way.

In the mean time, shut off the noise and take some prayerful time to review two wonderful gifts Jesus has already started unwrapping through the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Holy Father. Read his Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde” proclaiming the Year of Saint Joseph and pay attention to why he’s doing this. Prepare for the coming year dedicated to “Family Amoris laetitia” and again ask why.

Much of the chaos in the world right now stems from broken relationships: those between ourselves and God, and those among ourselves and our neighbors. Pope Francis is asking us all to look at the model family, where truly holy relationships, love, and sacrifice were played out in anything but peaceful times. Did it ever strike you that the Prince of Peace came having to face attempted murder and flight almost immediately? This family was Holy in an unholy time. This family made holiness among themselves, if you will. They couldn’t ignore the evil around them but their love for God the Father and each other transcended that evil and brought them a divine Peace their situation couldn’t guarantee but God could.

Apostolic Letter “Patris Corde”: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html

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Ever feel like prayer 'didn't work'?

It's difficult to describe prayer. Imagine the near impossibility of conveying in mere human language what transpires between God and a soul. The cartoon may help disabuse some folks of the notion that nuns have prayer come easy to them or that prayer is only for priests and nuns and not everyone else.

The truth is that not only are all called to an intimate prayer life with the Almighty, but also that achieving this union with the Trinity really isn't an 'achievement' at all. It's a gift. We don't do it. We can't schedule it. We are expected to do our part to cooperate with the grace that God gives in growing in holiness, but it is never solely our doing.

Prayer is communication with God but often we need to remind ourselves that listening to him in silence is far more important than whatever we tell him.

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Gertrude gets her nom de plume and enters cartoon-land in the Sister Regina comic strip as Shadow’s new side-kick: SUNBEAM. We had plenty of suggestions, some more than once, but this one had a ring to it as we flesh out the feline dynamic duo of the squirrel wars. Here’s just some that were submitted:

Samson

Sunny

Lily

Rose

Sunshine

Misty

Lightfoot

Flame

Sunbeam

Light

Cuddles

Trudy

Gertrude is steadily growing, gaining weight and trying out various speeds racing around the cell she occupies after her toys, insects, and anything else she wants to chase. Despite her small size she can hit the ground with an impact that sounds like a human and, despite our best efforts, we smile in distraction as we detect her barreling across the floor just above the Mass Chapel. More than once a Handmaid has heard various thumps and bumps and wondered if a plumber or other contractor might be fixing something in the cell above Chapel and then realize, “Oh, its just Gertrude…all 7 pounds of her.” Look out wood-eating rodents!

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Website note: September 2020 – We switched to posting Sister Regina’s Comic Strips on Instagram, but you can still enjoy her past comics in the archive below.