Dear friend in Christ,

"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given." (Isaiah 9:6)
I'm starting this letter with a Christmas quote because, here at the monastery, we are in the midst of the Christmas season. Outside, it may feel as if Christmas is over, but we'll keep Christmastide until the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday, January 13. At that point, we will move into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time (winter). It's a beautiful tradition to keep an extended Christmas season, a reminder of the significance of God become human.
It's also truly enjoyable to keep up the celebrations after the Advent period of waiting. We don't wait miserably, but with a mounting sense of excitement. Schola rehearsals reach a peak for the Christmas services, the bakery, kitchen and individual sisters prepare Christmas treats, trees and decorations appear around the monastery and sisters and staff enjoy one another's company at social events which help us celebrate one another. Nevertheless, these activities are part of the waiting and it's wonderful to make Christmas a longer period for festivity after the build-up.
What most people celebrate as New Year is part of the Christmas season. On January 1, we’ll be focusing on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother God, another reminder of the great miracle of Christ's birth as a human being, who had a human mother.

We do, however, know that January 1 is also New Year’s Day 2019! That means that a new tax year begins. If you are still planning an end of year gift which counts for the 2018 tax year, we have prepared a guideline to help you make sure it reaches us in time.
Thank you for many ways in which you have supported the sisters throughout 2018 and for the many kindnesses you have shown us.
May 2019 bring you peace, joy and many blessings!