Diocesan Stories

Diocese of Winona-Rochester

“The Eucharist is the place where I encounter our Lord”

Sr. Mary Elisha Glady

The Eucharist provides direction and meaning for my life as I live my relationship with the Lord as a Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, Michigan. 

Every morning I begin the day by going to our convent chapel and visiting our Lord in the Eucharist. In His presence I renew my desire to love Him through all of my thoughts, words, and actions that day. 

My religious community prays the Liturgy of the Hours in our chapel each day. Praising and worshiping our Lord veiled in the Eucharist reminds me that one day I hope to praise and worship our Lord face-to-face in Heaven for eternity. 

Each day I have the privilege of attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I offer myself with our Lord to the Father in the Eucharistic prayers. Receiving Holy Communion strengthens me to live my offering to the Father in all of my thoughts, words, actions, and work of that day. Every evening during our community Holy Hour I share with the Lord the joys and concerns from the day. His loving presence reminds me why I do what I do each day and deepens my desire to serve and follow Him. 

Our day closes by praying Compline, the last hour in the Liturgy of the Hours. In this prayer, I thank the Lord for His blessings that day and I ask for His continued blessing. For me, the Eucharist is the place where I encounter our Lord and live my spousal relationship with Him. It is a gift for which my heart swells with gratitude.

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“God is much more interested in your life than you think”

Thomas Osten

My name is Tom Osten and I am a life-long Catholic, married to my wife for 36 years, and have three grown children. 

The Holy Spirit took charge of my life in 2015. That is the year I signed up for one hour per week in front of Jesus in our adoration chapel. Once I committed one hour with Jesus, He activated the dormant Gifts of the Holy Spirit within me. Gifts of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Once that happened, every part of my life got better. My marriage, my job, my stress. Everything. 

Most importantly, my Faith got better. A lot better. In fact, it took off like a rocket-ship! Within three years, the Holy Spirit filled my life with amazing graces and activities. 

I attended and led many Life in the Spirit Seminars (thanks to my wife) and joined a Lumen Christi Charismatic Prayer Group. I began distributing Holy Communion at St. Mary’s Hospital and volunteered at the yearly Steubenville Conferences. I was able to Sponsor some RCIA candidates, serve as chair-person for our Perpetual Adoration Committee, and joined our Diocesan Lay Formation group. I have witnessed our two sons’ growing faith and watched our daughter join the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus as a religious sister. 

Here are a few short instances where the Holy Spirit has miraculously showed up in my life over the last 5 years: 

On an airplane, I felt a deep distress while reading 1 Corinthians 13, for not really loving my fellow man. Then a stranger a few seats in front of me turned around and handed me a handwritten bookmark that said, “Don’t worry, God is Love!” Since that time I’ve been led by the Holy Spirit to prayer with others and have had some incredible experiences confirmed. 

I prayed over a stranger for her pancreatic cancer and told her that we would meet again only to be surprised with an encounter meeting her and her family in an empty parking lot 200 miles away. 

I was led to pray over someone who needed a heart transplant and stopped mid-prayer to ask her if sunflowers meant anything to her. I watched her break down in tears as she showed me her phone screen-saver with a big bright sunflower on it. 

How can these things happen during prayer? The answer is God is much more interested in your life than you think. Through prayer, I’ve learned to be vulnerable and take small steps forward. Worshiping in front of the Blessed Sacrament, giving thanks and calling upon the Holy Spirit with expectant faith brings adventure.

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“I’ve experienced the healing and transforming power of the Eucharist”

Fr. Matt Wagner

The Eucharist makes all the difference in my life - knowing that Jesus remains there, whether in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Monstrance, or in the Tabernacle. Knowing that the Lord is near is the constant reminder that Jesus’ words are true: “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” 

I’ve experienced the healing and transforming power of the Eucharist most profoundly during times of great difficulty. When I find myself before the Blessed Sacrament during a particularly difficult season of life, or when something has gone wrong, it’s not as if the Lord makes all the problems go away. But what I do experience and know for certain is that Jesus is with me, He is present amidst any difficulty, and He will not abandon me. 

I love adoration because it’s a time to silence my heart, and to come before our Lord and God who waits for me!

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“What eye cannot see and ear cannot hear, the glory of God hidden in this humble gift that looks so ordinary”

Emily Lofy

When in Adoration, Jesus does not always reveal himself to me in visible ways. But if anything, that has increased my faith even more—what eye cannot see and ear cannot hear, the glory of God hidden in this humble gift that looks so ordinary! What I have been blessed and humbled to perceive when I am in his presence at times is the reality of what truly is present to each and every person who stands in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is present and alive in this remarkable gift, and he gazes at each one of us with a look of love. May he give you, too, the eyes of faith to recognize his holy presence!

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“I envision the Eucharist as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus”

Jacob Fiala

For many people, including myself sometimes, it's so easy to look past the Eucharist and not what, but WHO is behind it, since we witness it every Sunday, or even daily. It was a big change for me entering seminary, because I would get to experience the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day of the week. For someone who only went to Mass on Sundays, it wasn't always easy to see the divine beauty every time the priest elevated the host. 

As time went on in prayer, adoration, and days of silence and solitude with the Lord, I was reminded of the Eucharistic miracles that our Savior Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life has so graciously revealed to us. I thought of the consecrated host in Poland in 2014 that was examined, and was found to be a piece of heart tissue that was so stressed, it had gone through a pain no one could ever comprehend. 

Every day since I recalled these instances, I envision the Eucharist as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Moreover, each smaller host does not represent something of lesser value than the one that the priest elevates. Instead, every single one of them is the Love of Christ himself poured out for us. It has led me to believe with utmost confidence that the Eucharist is indeed the heart that suffered so immensely for all of us, and encouraged me to enter into Jesus' eternal love that will never diminish.

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“When we sit with the Lord, we come to know Him who knows us”

Sr. Mara Lester

As a freshman at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, attending daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration was essential for me throughout my discernment of religious life, the source from which came courage to respond. So many years later, now as a perpetually professed Religious Sister of Mercy of Alma, MI, the Eucharist remains essential to my life and allows me daily to gaze upon our Lord and peer into Heaven! 

In the Liturgy of the Hours, during the Easter Season, there is an excerpt from a sermon by Pope Saint Leo the Great wherein he comments on the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “…as they shared their meal with him, their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread, opened far more happily to the sight of their own glorified humanity than were the eyes of our first parents to the shame of their sins.” This, I think, is a good way to explain what has happened and happens for me when I am before the Eucharist. In the Most Holy Eucharist I meet, gaze upon, adore, and receive tremendous graces from our Lord. I am reminded more of who I actually am and am called to be, not by what sin or whatever in this moment may weigh upon me. My heart is continually invited to see Him more, to be more disposed to always abide with Him and know of His mercy that endures forever. As a religious sister, my day is “bookmarked” with the Holy Eucharist, with Holy Mass and a communal Eucharistic Holy Hour, wherein all my spiritual and temporal cares—joys, anxieties, sorrow, struggles, pain, community, family, friends, and those whom my community serves are brought to the greatest Healer! It is a great thing to “give all” to Jesus, knowing He knows all, He is the One Who is ultimately in charge and can affect good in all situations even if it is unknown or remains a mystery to me. 

You and I, when we sit with the Lord, we come to know Him who knows us, and He transforms us more into Himself, of course with our cooperation. May we have faith in God and His promises! May we have hope that God can engage with all our defects and situations of misery to provide, in His great goodness and mercy, all that is necessary to do His will! May we lovingly abide with Him Who is Love as we seek to live virtuous lives! 

The Author of Abandonment to Divine Providence reminds us, “The one thing needful is being in the presence of God’s will now.” Is that not what we are trying to do at every moment, especially in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament? As we prayerfully sit before, or receive, the Glorified Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, the eyes of our hearts are opened, we more happily come to know ourselves, what God’s will for us is in this moment of our lives, and gain all that is necessary to seek our ultimate homeland—Heaven!

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“The Eucharist has given me hope”

Michelle Schmid

I can't say exactly when I began to understand that Jesus is waiting for me in the Eucharist. I have a memory of going with my mother, my oldest sister, and my brother to a church to observe the First Friday tradition of Confession and Mass. The church was not our regular parish, and held daily Mass in a small and ordinary room with green carpet. It was not a place you would expect to encounter the divine, and yet I found that, as a child, I was drawn into this moment to really experience the Mass. I would feel joy that I could go with my family and have this intimate experience. 

It was in this same room that I had my first experience of Eucharistic adoration as a kid. I did not know much about the theology of the Eucharist, but I knew here was something holy. As I grew into my teenage years, and began struggling with various sins that culminated in feelings of depression and low self-esteem, I again encountered Jesus in the Eucharist when I attended a three-day conference for high school youth. In the small crowd of teenagers, I came face-to-face with Jesus in the Eucharist as the priest processed with the monstrance. He stopped right in front of where I was, and I felt an overpowering sense that Jesus was right there with me. 

This feeling later encouraged me to attend daily Mass when I began college, and it was through Mass that I began to learn about prayer and simply being present with God. The sin and depression and self-esteem issues that I grappled with became more clear to me, and I began to attend a morning Holy Hour to pray in front of the Eucharist. I still struggled with my own self-worth, but I began to feel hope and joy. I can't say how many times I fell asleep during this hour of prayer, but I imagined that Jesus was simply putting me under like a doctor to do surgery on my soul. 

Today, I can say that it is Jesus' willingness to be with me in the Eucharist that has offered me true transformation. The Eucharist has given me hope and has sustained me when I have encountered trials and hardships. On days when I feel overwhelmed by work, I find myself resting before the tabernacle in the reservation chapel and imagining that Jesus is holding me in his arms. I also recognize that by receiving Jesus, he is changing me always, opening my heart to receive other people. Jesus' presence in the Eucharist is softening my heart, and that is such a profound and beautiful gift.

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