It’s hard to believe that we’re already celebrating Thanksgiving weekend! This semester has flown by, and as I was reflecting on all that has happened, I was struck by how much we have had to celebrate. This semester has offered me an opportunity to explore and celebrate the richness of the Catholic faith and the diversity of ways of living and expressing it.
We’ve participated in many celebrations of the mass at a number of different parishes in St. Louis, some very traditional, some offering beautiful music from a range of periods and cultures, and others focusing on social justice. Each week we also join the Aquinas community for mass, where Jessica sings and I’ve had opportunities to serve as lector and Eucharistic minister, and the Dominican brothers at the Priory where chanted morning prayer before mass is so beautiful that getting up extremely early is worth it. We also chant at home, and have had opportunities to learn different prayers and celebrate feast days from both the Dominican and Sisters of Providence traditions.
|The ICN singing God's praises|
At the ICN, and in the A.I. Vows class, which most of our fellow novices from the ICN are also taking, we’ve celebrated the gifts of the different charisms we’ve each been called to, and the cultural approaches to worshipping God that we bring to our gatherings.
|The ICN Novices|
We’ve learned some of the myriad ways available to us to learn about, be in relationship with, and praise God in sessions on topics such as spirituality, theological reflection and the Christ of Faith. As we each lead morning prayer, or evening worship during overnight gatherings, we’ve learned different prayer styles and traditions, including body prayer and Taizé. Two days on contemplative prayer, specifically centering prayer and lectio divina, have brought my personal prayer life to yet another level.
So, too, have sessions on the joys and challenges of intercultural and intergenerational living, further enhanced by the diversity of cultures represented in this year’s ICN. We have men and women from Africa, Asia, Poland, and Central, North, and South America. Each brings his or her own cultural traditions and individual wisdom and perspective to our discussions and our community prayers. As our vows class comes to an end, I am so grateful that the ICN will continue to offer us the opportunity to share with and learn from each other, and I look forward to the mass we are coordinating next week as it will include music and prayer from our different cultures and languages – a community celebration of God’s love of diversity.
|Missouri Botanical Garden|
|A CDN community celebration|
Because of sisters coming and going over the holidays we celebrated Thanksgiving twice, and had much to be thankful for this year.
As we enter into Advent, we hope that your own season of preparation for the coming of Jesus will be abundantly blessed.
|Wishing you the blessings of peace and joy during the holiday season|