Monday, October 24, 2011


File:Expansion de l'univers 2.gif

It's amazing how much time is spent preparing us for our future by looking into our past.  Part of our novitiate year includes a “History of Religious Life in the US” class taught by Regina Siegfried, ASC.  The class has been fascinating, but the last two weeks in particular were quite a milestone because we (the novices) presented on the individual histories of our respective congregations.  I know I learned a lot in preparing my presentation (Hey Houston – how come no one ever mentioned it took us over 20 years AFTER the storm of 1900 to get from Galveston to Houston?  I didn't know we were ever in Lampasas!)

A few hours after giving the presentation in class, we were on the road to Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Springfield Dominicans.  This visit included a trip to Jubilee Farm, where we discussed the new cosmology – a new way of looking at the 14 billion years of creation and evolution that have occurred since the Big Bang.  Just like we novices can learn and better ourselves by looking back on the histories of our congregations, so can the entire Homo sapiens species learn more about ourselves and our future by looking back on our shared history with all of creation.  We are but the newest ripple in the pond of life – there's an entire ecosystem out there that we need to get to know better.

By the way, here are some links for people interested in learning a little history themselves:

Jubilee Farm, which we visited on Friday –

Women in Spirit, a museum exhibit on the role of women religious in the US, which we will visit as part of Sr. Siegfried's class –

An Introduction to the New Cosmology (warning – it will change the way you look at EVERYTHING) – or


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What so ever you do...

During one of our classes this week we talked about what we chose to bring to the Novitiate and what we chose to leave behind. As I was going through my things recently I came across a paper with this prayer I had written when I was 12 years old.
“What so ever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me”


I live in a strange world of war and peace. Help me to love my brothers and sisters and you. But, God I do not understand. Why must we live in a world of “ask and we receive?” When other people just like ourselves, get treated with hunger, disease or war. It just doesn’t seem fair? Many go through life without parents or without anyone to go home to. God, help us to help those who are in need, so that we will follow the footsteps of Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Younger Dominican Sisters Gather

This past weekend the CDN novices joined 30 some other Younger Dominican Sisters in Freemont, CA at the motherhouse of the Mission San Jose sisters. Not only was it exciting to go to California during my novitiate year but I loved meeting other Dominicans who were close to my age wherever they were in their formation. The criteria was that a woman be 45 years old or younger and a Dominican who’s motherhouse is in North America, even if the sister was from a different country. We spent time getting to know each other, having fun, seeing San Francisco, praying and of course having good food. But one of the main reasons we were called together by a conference of our Superiors was to form relationships and start to vision for the future. Through conversations at our tables we looked at what brought us to Dominican Religious Life, what difference it makes that there are younger Dominican sisters, and where do we go from the conference with what we have learned and shared. We don’t have all the answers by any means, but we have made a start and each community brainstormed how they could get the word out about our presence and about what we had energy around at the conference. Our ideas included international dialogue (and possible trips), enhanced communication within the country through technology, collaboration between communities, and future ways of gathering with our peers.
I know I am not being very specific, but that is because I am still processing it in my own head…still deciding what I commit to do to keep the fire going as I am clothed in the Gospel.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Days of Reflection


Our house has set aside Fridays as“Days of Reflection”--times of intense inner reflection and contemplation, usually centered on a certain theme or topic. What's been interesting about these DORs is the novices are planning some of them. I organized a day of reflection about prayer beads two weeks ago, and Chris presented one about putting ourselves in the stories of the Gospel this past Friday.

Preparing a spiritual experience for a group of people is more difficult than I thought it would be (and I realize as I'm writing this that I've said that about practically every part of the novitiate. Hmm...that's a subject for a different blog post). As I was preparing for my day, I was very concerned about having a variety of possible prayer styles or activities available, and I didn't want it to be too simplistic, but I didn't want it to be too esoteric, either, list of possible problems went on and on.

However, what I remember most about the day, looking back, is that a) nobody did what I expected them to do, but b) everyone talked about having a positive and significant experience. In hindsight, the day really wasn't about anything I said or did – the DORs are about each novice (and director) setting aside a time to journey with God awhile. What happens during that journey is beyond anyone's plans.

In that regard, I think the DORs can be a microcosm of our entire novitiate year. Alot of good people have put effort into setting up our classes, our days of prayer, our talks and one-on-ones, etc. In the end, though, this year is about a novice's individual journey with God—and the ways, means, and outcome of that is far beyond anyone's planning.

(PS The photo this week doesn't have anything to do with days of reflection – I just really like it.)