Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Gift in the Journey

Ten years ago, I was given the gift of spending 2 weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico as part of a peace and justice mission trip.  Today, the album of pictures and my journal sits open on my dresser.  A quote speaks to me…

“Knowledge had opened the door to compassion… To take the risk of loving, we must become vulnerable enough to test the radical proposition that knowledge of another and self-revelation will ultimately increase rather than decrease love.  It is an awe-ful risk.”

In the weeks since we began this journey together, I have felt challenged, torn, confused, and tested more than I have ever been.  Someone once told me I was on a “two year career path”, and as I approach the two years since I began the official process of discernment, I recognize the churning that is within me.
I have learned through our vows class, that the difference between living a religious life, and living the life of a Christian layperson is the fact that we, as religious, live in intentional communities.  As much as we don’t choose our families, we also don’t choose our communities.  I have been blessed to grow as a child in one, and as a woman of faith in the other.
I do not know where God is leading me, or how long the journey, but I thank God for the women who continue to say “yes”, who are my example of fidelity.  Who encourage me to go where I feel God is calling, though I want to run the other way.  Whose love for me teaches me I am worthy of that love, even when I fall and can’t go further.  We are each on a journey, and the people we meet along the way are God’s gift. 
May our eyes be open to see the gift, our hands be open to receive God’s mercy, our hearts be open to love the God within.  And may our faith be strong enough to know it is worth the risk.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

After a month...

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since we moved in and started our intensive orientation to Dominican Religious Life. Sometimes it feels like only four days ago and other times it feels like four months. I finally feel like things are settling down a bit and that I am getting the hang of the routine (I know that will change soon). As part of this year we are each to do a few hours of ministry a week…preferably in some area that would be a stretch for us. We were introduced to many different options and they each didn’t quite fit right or would have been too easy for me. I knew I would know my ministry when I found it and I didn’t really want to settle for something else because I knew it was out there somewhere. This past week, I found it. I attended a presentation about the epidemic of Human Trafficking and how large of a problem it is right here in St. Louis. I was appalled at the statistics I was shown. Most of the children (average age is 13) are either runaway or throwaway (parents kick them out of the house) kids looking for someone to love and support them. My heart broke to hear about some of what these children are going through and I knew I had to help this organization in some way. We are still figuring out the details, but I know that I need to help spread the word about this hidden industry in our society. It should NOT be happening and we need to recognize and stop it before more children are victimized.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Weekend of Prayer

The theme for this first month of the novitiate seems simple enough – “Prayer.” I remember when I heard that I thought “Oh, good, we're starting off slow.” I don't think that any more.

In typical formation fashion, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my current patterns and modes of prayer, how they fit into my new life as a Dominican sister, and what aspects of my prayer life can and should change during this time. There were two significant instances that occurred this past weekend that I am still trying to process and blend into my prayer life.

The first occurred during our Friday day of reflection, when Don Goergen, OP came to lead us in a reflection on “Contemplation.” I had been looking forward to this day ever since I asked the question of the group “So, what is contemplation?” (Might was well get to the heart of these things!) In the end, I wasn't disappointed. Judging by the group sharings at the end of the day, I think we all learned quite a lot in those few quiet hours. I know I did, most of which I am still trying to integrate into my day-to-day living. (Hey, it's only been four days! It's still a work in progress).

The second prayer experience of the weekend was Sunday night at the Interfaith Memorial in Music, which commemorated the 10thanniversary of September 11, 2001. This was a very moving experience, featuring Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Jewish prayers, all in their native languages. I realized that language isn't necessary for true prayer – the soul can interact with God just fine through the lilting children's prayer sung in Arabic by a group of mothers or the soulful petitions made in Hebrew by a single man on stage.

I think what I have learned most in these past few days is that our hearts can and will commune with God all of their own accord, when we allow ourselves to get out of the way.


Monday, September 5, 2011

How much we have learned, seen and been a part of since we began our journey at the CDN just three weeks ago!

Our opening Mass for the school year at Aquinas Institute ( was attended by novices, priests, sisters and brothers, as well as lay people all searching for knowledge through faith.  God’s sense of humor was present the moment we walked through the door.  Krissie sang in the choir, Kelly brought up the gifts, Chris shared the reading, and Joye was Eucharistic Minister.  Megan did a wonderful job as “congregational participant”.  The Dominican women were present indeed!

Being open and willing.  In this short time together, we have shared prayer, brought out our culinary talents (really), discovered our surroundings, and learned we can travel together for 6 hours in one car!  During our trip to St. Catharine, KY (home of the first Dominican community in the USA), our past and our present were examples of perseverance and faith.  “We are many parts” is certainly apparent as we learned the gift of the “Dominican Family”. 

We continue to thank each of you for your interest in our journey, for your prayers, love and support.  This year will be one of challenges and new discoveries.  We will seek to know God better, and who it is we are becoming.  We hope you enjoy all we have to share, and we look forward to your comments as the Spirit moves you to do.

“This is what God asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”  - Micah 6