January | February 2021
Photo Contest Winners
New Year’s greetings to all our sisters and brothers in Christ. We pray that you and your families are all well and receiving all the graces that are being poured out by our Blessed Mother, Mary and her son, Jesus. We joyfully reach out to you in loving admiration for all your great efforts in keeping us connected to one another and our communities. 
One of these graced efforts was given by those of you that participated in our 2020 Photo Contest. The National Council wants to congratulate our members’ efforts in sharing their heartfelt moments to propagate our Mother’s love for all of us.  During this pandemic, we have all felt disconnected and we want everyone to know that we love them and to let them know that our Lord Jesus Christ will not leave us abandoned. His most Holy Spirit and his dearest Mother are both out there reaching out to all of us to become uncomfortable and begin to “think outside the box”. Photo sharing is a form of sharing our love for our Mother, her son, Jesus and for one another. It is always nice to see the smiling face from afar. 
The connection we have through the OSSM only unites us more intensely with our brothers and sisters that are working as Servants of Mary to reach out to everyone. So, in this light the National Council suggests that we use our website to become more connected with one another. Send pictures you would like to share for our photo gallery and prepare for the 2021 Photo Contest with a short story of the event. This annual event will run the whole year to be judged every August. Winners announced in September and yes; WINNERS GET PRIZES! PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS BLESSED EVENT!
Again, thank you contestants! Your photos and stories are amazing. 

Janet Paluczak, OSSM
2nd place winner
Rose Serrano, OSSM
3rd place winne
We have completed two sessions of on-going formation, one in October and another in November. In total we have had more than 60 OSSM sisters and brothers participate in both the English and Spanish sessions. The sessions are set up to share information for on-going formation and provide an opportunity to meet and dialogue with our OSSM in the USA.
Because of Covid-19 we were not able to participate as usual for our monthly meetings, however, even prior to Covid-19 communities have been suffering from a lack of resources for on-going formation, in particular many communities are lacking a Spiritual Assistant.
The virtual meeting space offers the opportunity to bring additional resources to the OSSM local community and a Spiritual Assistant. The idea is for local OSSM communities to send delegates or the whole OSSM community to join in once a month, on-going formation session with a friar, sister, or an OSSM expert. The presenters will teach on a particular topic beneficial for all promised-OSSMs and their continued formation. The once-a-month session is also offered for individual OSSM participation.
Please join us each month for on-going formation and to know your OSSM community in the USA. The sessions are one hour. They include opening prayer, a presentation, discussion, closing prayer and some social time.
You can register here for the next session 3, Rule of Life, Chapters 7 – 10 on Saturday, February 20th at 10 am PT, 11 am MT, 12 noon CT, and 1 pm ET. The Spanish session immediately follows at 11 am PT, 12 noon MT, 1 pm CT, 2 pm ET.
We look forward to seeing you and hearing your voice.
The Charism of the Servants of Mary
. . . musings of a Secular Servite by Paulette Fogarty
The Feast of Our Holy Founders approaches and is very much on my mind. Some of you heard me on the Zoom, excited about Father Christopher Ross's little book "The Charism of the Servants of Mary." With all my heart I recommend this book to you. I think that this time of year we realize how very little we really know of Our Fathers and Father Ross's book has quite a satisfying history of the Order in chapters 1-3. But chapters 4 and 5, on fraternity, devotion to Mary, the Servite liturgies----these make my soul sing! These inspire my little magnificat of joy at being a servant.
         So without Father's expertise I shall muse with you on that word charism. In a classical Greek dictionary the word is defined as a gift, a favor, an accomplishment. In theology it refers to a gift of the Holy Spirit given to a person, not for himself or for his own holiness alone, but for the building up of the Church. Think of St. Paul, given such a dramatic gift of conversion, or St. Francis embracing the Lady Poverty and hearing Christ say "repair my Church."
         Our Holy Fathers received the gifts of fraternity, devotion to Mary, and service.  We know this from the name of the Order--Friar Servants of Mary---and we know it from how these gifts were shared with one another, and experienced by others who knew them, and by those who came after them. 
         In theology there is a fine distinction between charism and "spirit of the order.” That distinction is rarely observed. We can call the spirit of the order its “inherited, shared experiences," or its charism--- the gift of its Founders. I think that is worth a repeat. The spirit of being a Servant of Mary is found in its inherited, shared experiences. Because of this there is a kind of beauty in our not having a lot of information on the Seven. It means that they were living their charism, rather than writing books about it. So we are the charism, living out the inherited, shared, experiences of our Founders. Who sees us, sees the Order, our love for one another, our devotion to Our Mother, our warm service to "all those most in need." (RoL, art. 42). (What a responsibility!)
         Trying to discuss the three elements of our charism is somewhat like delving into the Trinity. The more one tries to look at one element, the more intertwined it becomes with the other two. There is no true fraternity or love without service. There is no true devotion to Mary without service. They are distinct, but an inspired whole.

         I hope you will enjoy the information in the first three chapters of Father's book. I pray your souls will sing with mine in chapters 4 and 5. I love you with "caritas and amor"--grace and affection!  And with the abiding inspiration of Mary, it is my joy to serve with you.


         Remember the OSSM candle pots? They last made an appearance at the OSSM Conference in Sierra Madre, CA. They are back for the very last time. The maker of the pots has closed-up shop and we have a small number left to sell. Proceeds benefit the National Council treasury. Every community should have one for their meetings. Place a candle inside and the light dances through the OSSM logo on the front making a charming display during prayer or meetings. Each is one of a kind and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.
Small beige . . . $35
Small blue . . . $35
Small gray . . . $35 (limited quantities)
Large blue . . . $40 (limited quantities)

         Contact Sue Weigand, OSSM at sue.weigand@gmail.com or (610) 310-9663 to place your order.
Servants of Mary, Faith Resources
This video is the second in a series on the Legenda of the Servants of Mary. It is a short 8 minutes.

Next issue will feature the Introduction, part 3 of the 20-part series. Videos range from 10-20 minutes each. Enjoy!