A month has passed since Rhonda and I arrived at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate (CDN), and what a full month it has been! In August, we traveled to Ruma, Illinois, to see the eclipse. Next, we were off to Kentucky to see the “Holy Land,” where so much history of US women’s religious life resides. And we have just returned from Springfield, where we visited the Motherhouse, the Lincoln Museum and Library, and Jubilee Farm. We welcomed a panel of guests to dialogue with us about prayer, heard more about prayer from Fr. Don Goergen, OP, and even talked about prayer earlier this week during a house meeting. Yes, prayer, one of the four pillars of Dominican life, is essential enough to warrant discussion at a house meeting that also featured such practical topics as the calendar for the next two months and which sisters have an AAA membership! It can be tempting for busy novices like Rhonda and me to put personal prayer on the back burner when homework, classes, house chores, ministry, communal meals, communal prayer, travel, house meetings, and other commitments fill our days. But for us at the CDN, as for all who hope to live and preach the Gospel, personal prayer is indispensable. Time and again, we are called to know (and to live!) this truth. A primary purpose of this year is to grow in our lives of prayer, so that prayer will become the bedrock of the rest of our lives.
Rhonda and I have both begun our ministries—she as a teaching assistant at Marian Middle School, and I as an English-language tutor for a young immigrant woman. We've begun classes at Aquinas Institute. Both our Vowed Life class and Foundations of Preaching class have inspired dinner-table conversation and reflection on life, relationships, and ministry.
We've met our novice peers and their directors at the Inter-Community Novitiate (ICN), a carefully designed collaboration of various orders and congregations who come together weekly to share the formation journey. We’ve heard that ICN has been a highlight for previous novices, and we look forward to walking the path of discernment with this new community.
This blog entry, which lists only some of our many activities, demonstrates the fullness of our days. But our days are not the only things that are full! Our mailboxes (literal and electronic) are full, thanks to our sisters at home as well as family and friends. Because of your faithfulness, our hearts are full, too. We thank you, we hold you in prayer, and we send our love!