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

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I have been thinking today of a prayer that I haven't said in a while but was given to me by an older sister before I entered.  The only words I can remember right now are, "in the bounds of thy creation, no one needs thee more than I..."  It's surfacing has given me such a wonderful feeling of being held by God and of the rightness of my life.  It has been a peaceful presence today.

It's amazing how God reaches into the memory to pull out things you forgot you had but He knows you need.  When I find the prayer (which may already be at my new convent... so it could be a few weeks!) I will post it because it was very helpful to me in learning that it is okay to be needy before God.  He knows I am but I always need a reminder.  All of my things that I usually have in my "prayer corner" of my bedroom are in containers waiting for my arrival at my new convent and so I have been a little low on visual reminders of God.  It's a good thing that He lives within me and He continues to call out the reminders I already have.  So, God, come to me because in the bounds of thy creation, no one needs thee more than I!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"We wait for peace, to no avail..."

Life sometimes feels like this, doesn't it?  I always think that the reason I am lacking peace comes from the outside.  Whenever I feel that nagging anxiety rear it's ugly head, the first thing I do is try to figure out what is causing it.  I always come up with wonderfully creative answers; it's the way sister so and so spoke to me this morning, it's stomachache from dinner last night, it's the sister who keeps moving around in front of me and distracting me from prayer, and on and on and on...

Really though, it is always me that causes me to lack peace.  Sure, those outside things are related, but they aren't the root.  The root is that I am waiting for peace from the world, which I will never get.  I'm waiting for peace to come from something I do, something of which I am in control.  There will never be peace in those things.  I know that on an intellectual level but I have spiritual amnesia and every time God teaches me this lesson I forget and have to start over again.

It is scary how far along I can get sometimes without bringing this to Him.  And then it happens... I mess up!  And usually I mess up pretty big.  Then I think, "Peace, what's peace?"  All the sudden it seems futile to continue to try to be holy, to be prayerful, to be charitable because there is no hope.  I depended on me, and I failed.  

That is why God is so good... even though I do this over and over and over again (and it is one of  my greatest faults) He is still there waiting to give the peace that I have been refusing.  This peace always involves a true show of myself to Him and to everyone around me and unfortunately I don't always look my best.  His grace heals all that though and as hard as it is, I get back up and keep on walking.  Each time I hope it won't happen again, but it always does.... I guess I haven't learned humility yet.

But it is a learning process, and only good things come from God so I am convinced that peace will come and God is here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This week I moved some of my things into my new convent home.  It was an adventure as always.  I've been cleaning out and packing since I received my obedience and finally I had most of my stuff sorted and packed.  It was nerve racking making sure I remembered everything.  I was nervous too to meet some of the sisters with whom I'll live.  However, when I arrived at the convent all the sisters helped me bring my things in.  They were so hospitable and warm.  We went first to visit Jesus in our chapel and then I got the whole tour of the convent.  I stayed for evening prayer and dinner as well.  It was so nice to be welcomed in that way and I can't wait to begin a new assignment in that convent home.  For now though there is more to be done and retreat to happen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

That one thing a vocation depends upon...

"There is need of only one thing."

Sometimes I have to ask myself, what is that one thing?  I often catch myself saying, "I just need to get ___ before I can do __."  Most of the time when I am saying that it is because I want to be comfortable.  I want to have everything I need and to use it as I please.  Once in a while it really is just procrastination but usually it is the issue of comfort. 

Many people ask sisters if they have to give up x, y and/or z things in religious life.  It is definitely a valid question because you need to know what you're agreeing to if you choose to enter into religious life.  However, that mentality is discarded in formation and community living as you are challenged and stretched into the attitude of "yes."  

Suddenly the change occurs, sometimes we don't even realize it happening, and we become more selfless.  We stop litigating within ourselves what we will give based on what we think we're going to receive.  When we do revert back to that older way of thinking it shocks us and we think, "Didn't I already get past that?"  

However much we do get past it, original sin makes sure that we are always on our guard against letting it become our primary way of relating.  

Recently, I have been experiencing this more and more as I get ready to go to a new mission. It preoccupies my mind almost all the time, haha, as it would anyone else who is making a big change.  I think, "Oh, if only I had this computer program, I could do the coolest things in school!"  "If I only had a little money to buy this kind of book, I could really teach this."  

This little voice in my head goes on and on and on about all the things that would make my move more simple, school more successful, and convent life more comfortable.  But it isn't supposed to be comfortable.  It needs to be challenging, selfless, life-giving, sacrificial, and above all prayerful.  The one thing needed for this attitude shift is prayer.  God gives to those who rely on Him and that is exactly what I intend on doing.  I know that little voice is going to continue prodding me with wonderful suggestions, but if I give in, there will be more and more and more.  The peace I need, the comfort I desire comes only from Him.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm a blogging disgrace!

Wow, over a month and all silent on the nun front. Actually, while that sounds very holy and relaxing - it isn't true. In fact is that things have been so busy I haven't had a moment to spare to write a thing. So far this summer I've had a lot of exciting things going on; Bible Camp at an inner city school, classes in education, preparation for my new mission, packing, cleaning, and lots of prayer work. By prayer work I mean entering into a deeper time of reflection for myself.

Change is always difficult and exciting and a whole lot of other emotions at once. Religious life is one big adventure and you never know where you will be next which is such an awesome opportunity to meet and serve God's people. I've been thinking a lot lately about the vocation to religious life and identity. Many people ask me at times, is your community liberal... are they conservative, are they traditional... are they progressive? And, I never have an answer because my answer is that we are Catholic religious sisters.

As I've been reflecting on the ability to give of myself completely to others in imitation of Jesus, I have found that there is far too much resting on labels like those above. Although it is true that I act in a more conservative manner and I pray in a more traditional manner; conservative and traditional are not my identity. Being a sister to all is my identity. And it is such a wonderful and life-giving opportunity to let go of comfort zones.

I feel comfortable as a conservative and traditional religious sister; but if I polarize someone by not being able to leave my comfort zone and enter into theirs, how will I ever be able to show them that God loves them and that the Church loves them? I can't tell you how many uncomfortable situations I have been in at times because of this labeling and I continue to try to escape any label other than sister.

I am doing a summer camp right now in the inner city. Many of the kids are not Catholic, and many don't understand what a sister is, except that we really love them and like to have fun with them. Well, yesterday a four year old came over and asked myself and a sister who looks just like me (it really makes things difficult, no one can tell us apart! We're also the same age in religion!) "Are you two sisters?" Sister M. answered right away, "We are Catholic religious sisters but we aren't related, we don't have the same mom." Our dear little angel then offered, "Oh, I get it, you have the same dad," and skipped off on her way. Well, we thought it was hilarious, but it offered for me another opportunity to examine the attitudes I have. I was able to accept her for her lack of understanding and her lack of exposure to sisters.

Now, we didn't continue the conversation there, but it continued in a more subtle way throughout the days we have spent with the children. They see that we love them, that we care about them, that we want them to be happy and safe, and in that they see a sister. They may not be able to put that into sophisticated words but I can tell by the way they hug me and talk to me that they know that I am their family in God.

Now as I get prepared to go out on the mission I hope and pray that this understanding continues to grow so that I can meet all people and work towards bringing us all into the Church together. It is such a gift to be a sister and nothing else to those who need us most. Thank you, Lord.