+ J.M.J.A.T. +

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Working Together

Last weekend we discussed our community life at our local house meeting.  House meetings can be stressful sometimes, uncomfortable, and really grace-filled moments of peace and love for one another.  This was one of those times.  Identifying our strengths and weaknesses brought out all of those emotions.  Sometimes recognizing the good makes you just as uncomfortable as recognizing the weakness.  What I love about the sisters in this house though was made very obvious by our comments.  Nearly everyone shared, without talking to one another in the beginning, that we appreciated the generosity in our house.  

Working together is one of the greatest bonding moments for us as sisters.  When we work towards a common goal with one another while enjoying each other and sharing thoughts and prayers for success - we become joined together in a really life giving way.  Today was a big fundraiser for our sisters and we worked all week, long hours, after school, in physically taxing conditions and... it was a huge success.  Besides meeting our goals we grew in love, respect, and sisterly affection for one another.  It was a wonderful week!

Friday, September 30, 2011

One of the Best (and most practical) Perks of Being a Sister

There are big changes happening in the diocese in which I live especially as regards Catholic education.  I love Catholic education.  It is my life - my heart and my soul are completely invested in the formation of children in the Catholic tradition and excellence in education.  My dream is that there will be a new springtime of birth in intellect and will in our Catholic schools which calls forth saints of God to serve the Church in this future age.  In order for that to happen we have a lot of work to do in our Catholic schools which has made for some very fun community times as well.

Because my community is one of educators, I have the great gift of being able to call up a "sister" of mine and ask her what's new... what is happening at her school... did she go to the workshop... does she have any new materials... what is she working on.... and this is exactly what is happening in my life right now.  It has been so much fun.  Often people talk about sisters praying together, which is really wonderful... I love praying with my sisters.  But, working together is something that brings us together in a more creative way.

Today I got to connect with a sister who I really respect as an educator and receive information from her on what I was doing and get immediate feedback on my work.  It was great.  I also talked to a friend of mine who is younger and asked her what she was working on.  I also worked with someone I live with but who ministers at a different school - and yet again, another perspective was added to my own.

The other night this sister and I sat down in the community room with all the information both of us had collected about a particular change in the education system in the diocese and we were so excited by the time we put our heads together and came up with something workable.  The excitement, passion, and unity was able to be filled in the air.  It was a wonderful experience in working together.

What a gift it is to have such a proliferation of gifts all working on the same project - what a joy!  what a work!  Thank God we have one another to work with and to build upon.  God, I am just so thankful for each and every one of my sisters; for the intelligent, gifted, passionate, and wonderful women who surround me with their faith, love, prayer, sacrifice, and work.  Thank You!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I had the strangest experience the other night.  As I've mentioned before I love to drive through the city, especially at night when there is no traffic, and I was coming home late the other night and decided to take the "scenic" route.  As I was watching the cars and the lights and the people and reflecting on the very good meeting I was returning from I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God to me.  How, when I look at all these people, have I been so blessed to live and work and have my being in this great God?  How, after all the missteps I should have fallen into, have I become this woman I could not have even imagined five years ago, not for myself and not for anyone else either?  What have I done to deserve the community I love, the apostolate in which I experience redemption, and the intimate relationship with the King?

I know it is nothing I have done but it still boggles my mind... how did I end up here?  I ask this question not in disbelief but in awe of what God can do with so little - with less than anything at all.  When I look at my past and my experiences of life... I should have been a disaster.  There is little to nothing that would indicate that I would ever be a woman religious.  I could never think of a better life and I am humbled that God would want me, that in spite of all my flaws and my sinfulness, He would desire me.

It was a painful transformation into this person I never knew but who is me entirely.  It required facing masks, accepting loss and transition, losing control, surrendering, sacrifice, and being open to a whole other person - the one God always desired me to be but the one that I never was.

Now, I know God's work with me is not done.  The transformation is never complete until eternal life with Him.  But I am, if I might use a strange word, in harmony with my whole self and with God.  There is no wall, no huge contradiction, no mask, no hiding, no compensation - just life with Him and His people.  It is freedom.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I wish I was about to share some words of wisdom and comfort or some spiritual gleaning I've experienced in a time of anxiety; however, I have nothing.  Without going into detail, I've been working myself up over something all weekend.  I have prayed and distracted myself but until I actually act - I'm going to continue to be preoccupied.  I'm a worrier.  I can worry about things a normal person would never even think of.  This time I'm worried about something worth worrying though and I'm having a hard time pushing it out of my mind until I need to think about it.  On a Sunday afternoon though there isn't much to do that distracts me.

I tried writing my lessons for school - and I did - but it was an exercise in concentration and it took painfully long.  I took frequent breaks to look up again and again the same things on the internet trying to find some answers.  I didn't even make my bed I'm so tired from all this worrying.  It all seems ridiculous doesn't it?  But that is the human condition.

At this point I'm not hoping or praying for a positive outcome or good news... I'm praying for an accurate outcome and quick news so that I can get some relief from all this worry.  So, pray for me?  Thanks

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School

Well, it's that time again... the most wonderful time of the year according to some parents (and TV advertisements).  It's time for children everywhere to come back to school.  On these beautiful end of summer days, teachers are scrambling around with books, papers, computers... and kids are running around like little crazy people!

The other night all the kids came to school to get their new books and to check their class lists to find out which teacher they have and who is in their class.  I was excited to see them with their too long hair and crazy summer outfits.  I could predict who would show up and who wouldn't have any books until they got to school the first day.  However, I was wrong about one student.

I watched him walk into the hall where we were selling the books and he went to see his class list but before he got there he saw me and ran over.  I was so surprised.  He isn't the type who really cares about school or does any extra work or activities or hangs around when he doesn't need to be there.  Without any thought he came over and hugged me and said he was excited to come back.  I never expected that one!  I touched my heart to see him excited to be back at school.

There was one day last year when a few students, himself included, were stranded by their bus in the snow.  We had a pretend snowball fight in the classroom with some foam balls I was using for a class project.  I think that made them all feel special and important - and I think everything else comes easily from their.

So please pray for me as I prepare to continue with these wonderful children through another year of their formation as strong Catholic young men and women.