Merry Christmas from St. Joseph’s Friary!

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.” 
– Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas!
I am praying that this season finds you and your family well and persevering in any difficulties that may have come.

It has been a great joy to enter formation with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York City and to begin to experience this life in these last few months alongside my eight other brother postulants.

In our service to our neighbors at our little cafe as well as on our visits to our homeless brothers and sisters on the streets, we often witness their suffering, great and small. In the time spent with them, we are reminded, many times by the poor themselves, of the need to long for the continued coming of Jesus into our lives. And in our time of prayer, we get to see glimpses of the longing that Jesus has to come to us!

May this Christmas season bring to each of us a real grace to experience God with us – Emmanuel – who so desires to share in our joys and sufferings and to give us strength on the journey to our home in Heaven.

Thank you once again for your help in opening the door to religious life for my former Labouré classmates and myself, and for your continued support through your prayers.

Be sure of my prayers for you and your intentions, especially at our community Mass each morning!
God Bless,

Joseph Lynch
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
Labouré Alum


The Adventure Begins – An Update from Zoe Lamborn

Ave! On the Blessed Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I began my life as a religious. I am in awe of the passage of time and Our Lord’s ability to work through every single moment.

These last few months at home have been challenging. I have had to say goodbye to many things: family, friends, possessions, books, etc. This detachment prepares my heart to begin living the simple life that comes with a vow of poverty (one of the three Vows I will take after my initial years of formation). While some things were very easy to get rid of, like my phone or old clothes, the evil one often tried to convince me that my life would be difficult if I did not leave behind various things in the safety of my parent’s attic.

Yet, as I sat in Adoration after attending daily Mass a couple of weeks ago, Jesus reminded me of the Pearl of Great Price. Where in finding my Pearl, I “went and sold all that [I] had and bought it.” Jesus is my Pearl. And when even that parable is not enough, He caresses me and says, “Beloved, do not be afraid of the Cross.” While I constantly had to remind Jesus that I am terrified of the Cross, I still continued to count down the days. Today is the day. I am no longer like the rich man afraid to give Jesus everything. I am still scared and vulnerable, and yet, how could I say no to the God-Man who has loved me so perfectly?

In Labouré, we are asked at the beginning of our class to invite a person in our lives to be our prayer partner. Someone to keep us afloat in prayer when we can’t quite stay above the surface. Over the last 27 days, my prayer partner, Morgan, and I have been hard at work praying a 54-day Rosary Novena for my family, for myself, and for all those who have gotten me to where I am today. My dear friends, that “where” is finally here, in my convent with my Jesus. You did that. You gave Him to me, in prayers, in financial support, in introductions, in hugs, in phone calls, in the Eucharist.

And so Our Love Story begins, unconventional, radical, supernatural. I usually love words and have read enough of them to be rather fluent in conversation, and yet, as I sit in the gratitude of you all, words fail me. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being a Sister. Thank you for entrusting me with this mission. Thank you for reminding me that I am worthy enough to be His.

Under Mary’s Mantle,

Zoe Lamborn
Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita
Labouré Alum


Novitiate at Last!

Dear Friends,

With great joy I write to update you on my journey with the Brothers of St. John.

Lately, I have been reflecting on my journey so far, community life, and the role you have played in it, and this verse of scripture came to my mind: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

This truth is self-evident to us all, especially Christians as we form in our diversity the body of Christ. It is especially true for me. On the one hand your support sustains me on journey, urging me to continue on and reminding me that I am never alone. And on the other hand, sharing the life of the brothers of St. John during my postulancy has allowed me to learn much from each of them and grow spiritually.

In light of this, I am leaving for the house of formation of the community of St. John in Princeville, IL. This is to start the next step of my journey: the novitiate. This is the beginning of my formation properly speaking and this step will allow me to enter more fully into the charisma of the community and learn what it means to be a brother of St. John.

To allow for a full immersion in my formation, I will not have access to my cellphone nor the internet. This is a very important element in the formation, as it provides the adequate milieu for a growth in intimacy with Christ, and a greater discernment of the will of God for me. I humbly ask you to keep me in your prayers always as I do the same for you.

By the grace of God, many brothers across the world were ordained priests and deacons this summer! At our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Orange, New Jersey, Br. Bruno Thomas was ordained a priest and Br. John was ordained a deacon, as well as Br. Felipe de Jesus. They were all very influential in my discernment. Br. John, during my time as aspirant and Br. Bruno Thomas and Felipe de Jesus during my postulancy in Laredo, Tx. I beg you to keep them also in your prayers as well as all the other brothers ordained priests and deacons this year.

I assure you of my constant prayers,

Jean Clumson-Eklu
Congregation of Saint John
Labouré Alum

I Professed My First Vows! – An Update From Br. Joseph Cullen Hilliker, OP


It is hard to believe it has already been over a year and a half since I began working with all of you. I hope you all are well. I would like to share a brief update with you:

I entered the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great last summer as a novice in Denver. My time there was, in short, incredible. Truly, there is nowhere else I would rather be and nothing else I would rather be doing. On August 7th, I professed my simple (first) vows for two years; thanks be to God. Recently, I have moved to our house of studies in St. Louis, MO and I am now preparing for my first semester of study. I am very excited and ready to continue my spiritual growth here with my brothers in St. Louis.

There have been many fruits of Labouré during my time with the Dominicans thus far. Primarily, the community we share has been a beautiful gift to carry with me throughout formation. Hearing from many of you and praying for all of you is consoling, and it serves as a tangible reminder for me that we are all preaching the same Gospel in complementing ways. In other words, you are a great motivation for me to continue persevering in my formation for priesthood and religious life! So, keep doing your important work with Labouré, and I’ll try my best with the Dominicans, and together we will spread the same Good News of Jesus Christ!

I was a little suspicious when I was first told “fundraising is a ministry,” but now, I completely understand. You all are so wise! Maintaining relationships with our benefactors has brought me much joy, especially when they seek the counsel of a brother or reach out for prayer intentions. Who would have thought that asking strangers for money would evolve into such beautiful and lasting relationships? Certainly not me!

Finally, I’ve come to realize that my formation in religious life did not begin last summer when I joined the Dominicans. Rather, I think it began when I called to inquire about Labouré. From that conversation until my entrance date (and even until now), I learned a great deal from all of you regarding relationships, discipline, prayer, and self knowledge. All of these, and more, help me today to be a better brother.

I am overly grateful for all of you. Without your help in getting me here, all those souls I met this past year might not have been reached. We truly are doing this ministry together.

Above is a photo of myself and four brothers after our profession. The youthful man in the center served as my Novice Master and is now a great role model and Father for me (Rev. David Wright, OP).

Your Dominican brothers are praying for you!

With love,

Br. Joseph Cullen Hilliker, OP
Province of Saint Albert the Great – Central Dominican Province
Labouré Alum

Update from Bethany Convent- Alumni Update

Dear friends,

Peace in Christ! I apologize that it has taken me so long to send out this update. I hope to make up for it with great news and some pictures. All that God has blessed me with during this time has come about through your helping hands. God has provided that, through each one of you, I am no longer blocked by student loan debt and am fully free to devote my life to God with the Sisters of the Holy Cross!

Helping prepare for the blessing and consecration of St. Gabriel Monastery’s new church bells. When tolled and rung they become instruments of God’s power. Our faith and piety are made stronger when we hear their melodious peals!

Know that you have all been great instruments of God by presenting to Him one more little bride. I would not be standing in the court of my King, my Bridegroom, if it were not for your prayers and generosity. As I thank God for each one of you, I am pleased to think of how His gratitude far exceeds mine and how generous He desires to be in pouring out graces upon you!

I am also happy to tell you that today, on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the sisters’ titular feast day, I have submitted my request to continue my formation with the Sisters of the Holy Cross as a postulant! Since entering in March I have been living with the community as an aspirant, or a candidate, as I become more acquainted with the life and spirituality of the sisters and they with me. God willing, if I am accepted as a postulant, I will more formally “move in” with the community and further my formation and discernment with the sisters.  And yes, postulants wear a habit! 🙂 It would be light gray without the scapular and veil. Please know of my continued prayers for you and how much all of you mean to me!

Mater Dolorosa, ora pro nobis!

In Christ through Mary,

New Year, New Joy! – An Update From Alumni Jeff Pooley

Dear Friends,

I hope this email finds you all well! I am about four weeks into my semester here in Denver and am really enjoying being back in Colorado. I had so many opportunities this summer to grow in a deeper love for the Lord. The word seminary is rooted in the Latin word Seminarium, this word means ‘planter bed’. This is so beautiful when we recognize that Jesus has sewn the seeds throughout my life and even during my summer break and I get to come back to school and to really allow them to grow here. This is what it is about to be a seminarian, allow the Lord to grow you as He desires.


Many of the Seminarians of the Diocese of Phoenix join Bishop Olmstead for a beautiful hike just North of Prescott

I am taking a full load this semester. My classes are:

Latin, Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Nature and Science, Ethics, Intro to the Theology of St Thomas Aquinas, and Intro to Scriptures.

It’s going to be an interesting year to say the least! It is so good to back in the community of brothers, going home is a great joy. But you build such intentional relationships here that I always miss seeing my friends on a daily basis.

Please know of my continued prayers for all of you. I will continue to bring you before the Lord, in a constant thanksgiving for the generosity you have always shown me.

For the glory of His Sacred Heart,

Jeff Pooley,
Diocese of Phoenix,
Labouré Alum

Exciting News!

“For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
-Matthew 7:8

The sisters’ chapel in Fatima

Dear Friends,

Blessed Lent! I hope that you are finding much joy and great graces as we unite ourselves with Christ in the dry, barren desert during this Lenten season. I would like to express my deep gratitude for your prayers and financial support!  For it is through your generosity that God answers my prayers.  It was a great blessing for me to witness and share in the love that you have for God’s Kingdom in building up vocations in the Church.  Thank you!

In January we began a new 6-month fundraising class (Class 20) with a wonderful group of 21 aspirants. With this new class comes a lot of joy and exciting news! The Sisters of the Holy Cross have invited me to come live with the community while I continue to fundraise with Class 20.  I will be joining the sisters on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19th!  I give thanks to God that through your prayers and support this is possible! Although my entrance for formation is not official until the student loans are completely paid off, I am blessed to be more closely united with the sisters and begin my life within the community.

Labouré Class 20

I look forward to continuing my journey with you, the Labouré Society and the Sisters of the Holy Cross!

May God bless you!
United in prayers,

Erin Lyons
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Labouré Aspirant

Learn More About Class 20! 

“I made It!” – An Update From Austin Roy

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Greetings from the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration! I am so glad to be able to write you despite the contemplative and remote nature of this life. There is no internet connection here at the monastery. So, I am grateful to my mother who will be sending this newsletter out. I would like to thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for your incredible generosity that you have shown to Catholic vocations. It is because of your support that I am now on my way to becoming a Carthusian Monk.

After wrapping up my fundraising process with Labouré in July of last year, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of months with my family before heading to Vermont where the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration is located. September 12th was the day of my official entrance into the monastery. It was a day that I had been waiting for, for three years. On December 8th the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I was accepted to the stage of postulancy within the Order. The entrance ceremony was held in the monastery Charterhouse, a place of formal meetings of the community. It began with several scriptural passages that were read by the novices. I then sat while the Novice Master washed my feet in imitation of Christ. I was then led before the Prior and clothed in a long black cloak with a hood. The ceremony concluded with me kneeling before the community and reciting Psalm 87. Postulancy within the Carthusian Order usually lasts about one year.

As a postulant of the Order I will now wear the cloak as a habit during Mass and the recitation of the Divine Office in church. I will also begin to learn how to serve the Carthusian Rite of Mass for private Masses and family visits. However, regarding the daily life, very little has changed. My day normally consists of approximately eight hours of prayer plus daily Mass, two hours of study time, and an hour and a half of manual work. During my study period, I occupy most of my time with spiritual books such as biblical commentaries and other monastic works. For physical exercise, I spend time chopping wood each day to burn in my wood-burning stove located in my cell. Winters in the Vermont mountains can be severe with temperatures regularly dropping below zero or lower especially at night. The walk from my cell to the Night Office in church is always a brisk one especially on nights likes these.

Some of the highlights of my time here thus far have been our Opera Communia days (community work). There are normally four per year. During these days, all the monks (that are able) spend the whole day performing a needful task for the community. Since arriving, I have participated in two such days. On my first Opera Communia, we were tasked with clearing a large swath of trees on the mountain side to improve the view of one of our guesthouses. The second was held just before Christmas where we spent the whole day baking desserts for the community. Each monk can choose whatever he would like to bake. My pick was to make cookies and an Oreo ice cream desert.

Besides the Opera Comunia days, what I appreciate and value most in the Carthusian life is the freedom to dedicate myself entirely to a life of prayer. It was a love of prayer that first led me to consider a Carthusian vocation. In the charterhouse, a Carthusian Monk is free from all the distractions, the noise, and obligations of a life lived in the world, thus allowing him to focus his entire attention on communing with God. Through prayer and the accomplishment of his daily duties, the Carthusian learns to see God in all things. Through faith he recognizes and finds God exteriorly in each of his daily task and all the crosses sent to him by providence. It is in these that he sees God’s will for him. Whether pleasant or painful, he knows that it is God who is encountered.

In his daily life of prayer, the Carthusian strives always to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), taking as the heart of his vocation the words of Our Lord, “You ought always to pray” (Luke 18:1). He devotes himself to vocal prayer by the daily recitation of the Psalms contained in the Divine Office. In mental prayer he meditates on the Sacred Scriptures and other pious works, immersing himself in the life of Our Lord and the teachings of the saints. By the practice of silent prayer, the Carthusian seeks simply to remain in the presence of Our Lord or Our Lady within his interior. Through years of patient practice, it is this silent prayer that becomes constant throughout the day. Known as acquired recollection, he has before him a habitual remembrance of Our Lord or Our Lady. If through distraction he momentarily loses this remembrance, a simple inward glance suffices to recollect him. Through a life dedicated to prayer and the accomplishment of God’s will, the Carthusian hopes in time to attain to divine union. This “mystical marriage” between the soul and God is for the soul, a state of perfect union with the soul’s beloved. He experiences without interruption the presence of God within himself. It is only a “thin veil” that separates him from the eternity of the Beatific Vision, a veil that he ardently desires to be torn.

I would like to encourage all of you, if you have not already done so, to devote yourself to a serious life of prayer (as your state of life will allow). God does not only call priests and religious to the state of divine union, but all Catholics. If you are faithful to a life of prayer, to the duties of your state in life, and to the inspirations of God’s grace, He will raise you, just like the saints of the past, to divine union with Himself.

Once again, thank you so much for your support of Catholic vocations. Every day I entrust your prayers and intentions to our Blessed Mother, confident that she will supply all your needs. I pray that you have a holy and blessed New Year.

Ave Maria!

Austin Roy
Order of Carthusians
Labouré Alum

Learn more about the Carthusian Order at,and


Success Story: Sister Martha Victoria

Sister Martha Victoria After Professing her First Vows, June 20, 2020



Many blessings for your support of vocations and the Labouré Society.

Crowned with the Love of Christ’s Passion

Joy of Mary: The Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven
“…a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” ~ Revelation 12:1
By Patrick Kelly

Coronation of the Virgin, Fra Angelico

Queen of Heaven

Since Our Lady was conceived without the stain of original sin on her soul, God chooses her to be the Mother of His only begotten Son. The Son of God receives a human nature through her acceptance of and cooperation with God’s will. Of course, her role as the Mother of God does not end with giving birth or even raising the Son of God. Her role as His mother is a much deeper and intimate role as she completely adheres to the Son’s redemptive work (CCC, 966), remaining with Him throughout the pain and agony of His Passion until his last breath. (Lumen Gentium, 58). Furthermore, since she was detached from all sin, she did not suffer the effects of sin, namely death and decay. For this reason, she was assumed body and soul into heaven. What we see in Mary’s glorious Assumption is our own potential for holiness

Mary is without a doubt the perfect model of faith and charity. She was never separated from God and was never resistant to His grace. It is easy to say that we should all be like Mary because she does what God wants, but if we put ourselves in Mary’s place, we see that God was asking a lot of her. Enduring pregnancy, giving birth and raising a child is no small feat; the fact that the child is the Son of God undoubtedly increases the pressure. Furthermore, Mary had to see her Son scourged, taunted, beaten, humiliated, made to carry His cross and die while standing by. Only Mary’s incredible faith and trust in God sustained her through those moments.

When Our Lady was Assumed into Heaven and crowned the Queen of Heaven, she became “more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death” (CCC, 966). When we place our trust in God, when we rely on His grace to free us from the burden of our sins. When we live charitably, when we accept and follow God’s will, we too become more conformed to Christ. If we persevere in pursuing God and His will in this life, by not allowing ourselves to become separated from Him through sin, we too will be more fully conformed to Him in heaven in the communion of saints in the next life.


Sorrow of Mary: The Piercing of Jesus’ Side with a Spear
& Descent from the Cross
“…one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may believe.” ~ John 19: 34-35
By Gretchen Erlichman

Descent from the Cross, Fra Angelico

‘Mercy and Love Flowed Out’ 

The Blessed Mother, exhausted and her eyes swollen with tears, looks upon the crucified, bloodied, lifeless body of her Son. How has it happened that her beautiful child, Who once sat upon her lap and laid His little head upon her breast, now hangs limply upon a wooden cross, covered in blood and dirt?  Thirty-three years earlier, on the day of Jesus’ presentation in the temple, an old man had told her: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) And now, kneeling at the foot of the Cross, she gazes upon the cruciform figure of Him, Who hangs as a sign of the unfathomable mercy and love of God. Behind her, she hears heavy footfalls crunching upon the dry dirt. She doesn’t take her eyes off Jesus’ pitiful body but, as the footsteps get closer, she realizes that a soldier is approaching the Cross. As she watches, a young Roman draws his lance and drives it into Jesus’ already bloodied body: “ soldier thrust his lance into His side.” (John 19:34) As soon as this wound in His side is opened, Mary winces and cries out in pain; it is the dead body of her Son that has been pierced with the soldier’s lance, but it is her immaculate heart that acutely feels the pain of this wound. Yet, as she struggles to open her eyes and again look upon her crucified Lord, she realizes that a stream of blood and water is flowing from the wound in His side: “…and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34). Despite the pain of the ‘sword that has pierced her heart,’ a flood of consolation washes over her; it is love and mercy that flows from the side of her Son – it is life that pours forth from the side of Christ.

Blood and water poured forth from the wound in Christ’s side so that ‘we also may believe’ and so that we may have life. (cf. John 19:35) Both blood and water are sources of life – blood circulates throughout the body of a living creature to keep it alive, and water nourishes the body of that creature so that the blood may continue to circulate. The blood and water that flows from the crucified Christ are the love and mercy of God. Gushing forth from His open side, Christ’s blood is “poured out” (Matt. 26:28) so that we may have life; in becoming human and dying on the Cross, He “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) to show us His mercy. Through the blood of Christ’s Passion, we are  invited into a sharing in the divine life and love of the Trinity. Through the mercy poured out upon us in the waters of baptism, we are nourished in this new life of grace. Just as the physical body requires blood and water to remain alive, so too does the spiritual life require the blood and water of Christ’s wounded side to remain in the life of Love. Let us then abandon ourselves and dwell in Christ’s wounded side so that we may unite ourselves ever more intimately to Him.


About the Series:

These past few months have surely been filled with many unexpected difficulties and challenges, yet there were probably also many little blessings and surprising gifts as well…maybe even ones that were hard to see at first. Human life is full of joys and sorrows; so too was the beautiful life of the Blessed Mother, who was entirely conformed to the will of God from the moment of her conception. The joys and sorrows of her life form the jewels of her heavenly crown and, at this very moment, she sits beside her Son on the throne of Heaven and intercedes for us.

Now, more than ever, we are called to unite our happiness and our suffering to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, she gently leads us to the merciful Heart of Our Lord and the ineffable love of the Trinity. Please join us this summer as we contemplate the joys and sorrows of the heart of Mary in our series, The Coronation of Love; The Joys and Sorrows of Mary. Each week, we will explore a paired joy and sorrow of Mary which will help us to further unite our pondering hearts to that of the Blessed Virgin. We look forward to praying through these mysteries of our faith with you. God bless!

In the Peace and Love of Christ, 
Gretchen, Thomas, Victoria & Patrick


About Us:

Gretchen Erlichman

Hi! My name is Gretchen Erlichman, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace in North Guilford, Connecticut. I am a native of upstate New York, but I am currently residing in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Labouré Society, in which I hope to mitigate my student loans and enter into religious formation. Watch My Video   Read My Story  Donate   Contact

Patrick Kelly

Hi! My name is Patrick Kelly, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I grew up and live in Virginia. I am in my second 6-month fundraising period with the Laboure Society. I am hoping to mitigate my student loan debt in time to enter the Novitiate next summer.
Watch My Video   Read My Story   Donate   Contact  

Victoria Clarizio

Hi! My name is Victoria Clarizio and I am an aspirant with the Passionist Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am from Connecticut and live there currently. As an aspirant with the Laboure Society, I hope to remove the obstacle of student debt so that my classmates and I can enter formation.
Video  Story  Donate  Contact

Thomas Conroy

Hi my name is Thomas Conroy, and I am an aspirant with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province). I was born and mostly raised in Northern Virginia. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2019. I am in my second 6 month fundraising period with the Labouré Society. I am hoping to have my student debt mitigated and enter formation next summer. Video  Story  Donate   Contact 




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