Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Journey of Faith

Blog by Margaret Uche
We novices have just returned from our Dominican Spring Break tour of Dominican congregations in Akron, Ohio, Caldwell, NJ, Amityville, NY, New Haven, CT, A day at United Nations side events, Cloister convent in Guildford, CT, Hope, Maryknoll, Blauvelt, Sparkill, and Adrian, Michigan.
What an enlightening and inspiring experience. I have gained more knowledge and better understanding of the rich Dominican heritage. I was touched by the warm welcome, generosity, and hospitality extended to us by our Sisters we visited. I had the opportunity to learn more deeply about the history of each congregation, enjoyed meals, prayers, and conversations with members of our Dominican family.

I was challenged by the Sisters who were so brave and courageous to set out in faith from various countries to answer God’s call to minister and educate the children, and to care for the suffering and the marginalized with such love and compassion. These brave Sisters sacrificed everything and answered the call faithfully and tended to the needs of the church. They faced all kinds of difficulties, yet they did not let it stop them, instead they trusted in Divine Providence and came together as a family. These Sisters have encouraged and inspired me in my own journey to religious life. I am very grateful to all our Dominican Sisters! I am very proud and happy to be part of the Dominican family.

 This week the church honors St. Joseph who also answered the call of God with courage, sacrifice, and love. He was chosen by God to be the protector and supporter of Jesus and Mary. He safe guarded the honor of Mary. He teaches me how to dedicate myself and to respond to the Will of God and that God will be with me through all the trials and challenges. Although he suffered in several ways, he responded faithfully and did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him as we hear in the Gospels of Matthew.
He suffered and faced difficulties when the Angel warned him to flee to Egypt because of the threat of King Herod and he obeyed and protected Mary and Jesus. After Mary, it was St. Joseph who suffered most for Jesus when they lost him in the temple for three days.
His life was continues act of faith, humility, and obedience.
As a novice in my own journey to religious life, I was inspired by the stories of our brave Dominican Sisters who listened to the Holy Spirit and answered the call.
St. Joseph also reminds me to be open to God’s call to use me to do His Will.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Living into Lent

Our chapel has been decorated beautifully for Lent.
            With the arrival of Lent, I’ve had the invitation to ask how this season is a time to deepen my relationship with God and with my community. On Friday, during our day of reflection, we were each given clay and the instructions to play and to see what the clay itself might be asking to make. I found myself building up a clay pot and reflecting on how I was creating a vessel that was waiting to be filled, and how that is an appropriate image with which to begin Lent. During this time, we’re asked to empty ourselves of distractions and bad habits, little and big things, in order to create more room for God to fill the spaces within us. My pot isn’t perfect, but then again neither am I, and the lumps and fingerprints are part of the creation process that remind me that I am still being shaped by God’s fingers.

            We had the opportunity to share our creations that night by candlelight. As a community, we decided to set aside a Friday evening when we’d fast from electricity, so we wouldn’t be using lights or other electronic devises. We sat around the living room, and I felt in awe of the beauty of that moment. During that gathering, the details were hard to make out, and we had to improvise by shining a flashlight on our creations like a spotlight. When we were finished, we sat talking in the candlelight catching up with one another. The evening was a reminder to me about how meaningful it is to have a discussion face to face without distractions of television or other devices.

            I love electricity as much as the next person, but I gained by letting go of it for a night. Like the pot I had made earlier, I had created a hollow space in me that is normally filled by doing work on my computer or reading a book. And God reached in and filled the space.

The pot I made for our day of reflection.
            On the Third Sunday of Lent, Gospel is the story of the Woman at the Well, whom Jesus meets in Samaria. The Samaritan woman desperately wanted to be filled up, and has looked all over to find ways to fill up that space, only to be left still filling empty. When Jesus declares that he will give the Samaritan woman Living Water, that he is in fact the Living Water, the woman immediately responds, knowing that she is gaining something she has desired about for a very long time: that the vessel created by God will finally be filled with God. As I move forward into Lent, and learn to live more deeply during this Lenten season, I find myself longing for Living Water that will fill up the space within my created being. I may have strange lumps, and I certainly have the marks of God’s fingerprints all over me, but when I am filled with Living Water, then all of my being takes on beauty and meaning. I will be living out the life I have been created to embrace.