Saturday, June 2, 2012

Food for the Journey

As I sit here in the silence of my room, I wonder what I can say that hasn't already been said.  What a gift, what a blessing this year has been!  How much God loves me!  I have resisted where once I was afraid to trod, and I have received graces upon grace to embrace that which I have yet to see. 

My congregation has supported me through prayer, visits and a variety of communication means.  My novitiate community has stood by me when I thought I could go no further.  My family and friends helped make more firm the foundation on which I stood before I entered our novitiate.  And this year, I have been ever more blessed to see the gift of our larger Dominican family.  With all the food I have received for my journey, it is with a grateful heart and a more peaceful spirit, that I say "yes" to God, trusting I will continue to receive all I need, when I need it, for the journey I feel invited to follow.

May God bless you for your guidance, support, and belief in our Novitiate.


So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Things are really beginning to wind down quickly now. There's still a little over two weeks left, but some of that will be spent in meetings, and some in quiet retreat, so we've started the boxing up and uber-cleaning already. Today is the day we are “boxing up” this blog – we're all creating our sign-off posts. This blog has been a wonderful way of communicating with Dominicans and other friends all over the country; it has truly been an added blessing of our year. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been reading – both the commenters and the lurkers – because ya'll contributed to making this year such an extraordinary experience for us.

The key thing to remember at this time is that every ending is a beginning, and everything that gets boxed up and put away will be open again at some point. It feels like the novitiate is coming to a close, but really, it's just opening up to its full potential. This year has been a year in preparation, a year in training. The true race is just getting started. Ready, set... --Kelly

wuv, twu wuv

It’s hard to believe my year at the CDN is about over. I still remember when I was blessed and sent on my way from Sinsinawa and arrived at this large house that would be called home on August 18. It’s also hard to believe that this is my last blog post on “A Day in the Life”. After each of us say our farewell to our blog followers the blog will sleep for the summer and hopefully be picked up again in the fall by a new set of Novices.

In our first newsletter, I wrote that I was looking forward to blessings and fun times and that I was ready for the year. Remembering the naiveté of that statement nine months later makes me smile. This year was certainly filled with blessings and fun times, but it has also had struggles and confusion. I am beginning to understand what my sisters were trying to tell me when they said that novitiate is a blessed year unlike any other, but that it is also tough.

I loved getting to know sisters and friars from the wider Dominican Family. Sharing prayer, meals, class and ministry helped me understand that we are a family and that we need each other. I also appreciate being in class with men and women Novices from other Religious Orders. These sessions provided peers whom I could bounce ideas off of and share my journey. I am amazed at the quality of speakers we were able to bring in through the Inter-Community Novitiate Program including Ron Rolheiser and Tony Gittins.

I also appreciate the rougher times during the year; the hard questions posed, the growth encouraged and the stretching required. It has been a huge blessing to be companioned and directed by two women who love religious life so much that they want to help me discern if it is right for me as well. The care they showed and the time they took to sit with me as I learned the skills needed to live in community and wrestled with questions that are bigger than any one of us was such a gift. Of course, the year wouldn’t have been the same without my fellow novices. These two women were a witness of the blessings of living in community. The concern and love shown when a member of community was grieving the loss of a dear friend, or when one was physically not 100% was matched only by our  laughter as we told stories of our day, reminisced about plans thrown out the window and quoted favorite lines from movies.

The support provided me during this Canonical year in St. Louis will stay with me long after I leave the city. Through notes, e-mails, care packages, comments on the blog and encouragement spoken as sisters traveled through our house, I knew I was part of a larger community that all wanted to help me discover if living the Dominican Life is where I can be my most authentic self.

To quote one of our favorite lines at the CDN this year I felt the “wuv, twu wuv” from every direction.

—Sr. Krissie Koll, Dominican Novice based in Sinsinawa, WI