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

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Okay, so here I am at our wonderful retreat house down the shore.  I am much less of a stick in the mud than I was last time I wrote.  However, I am still very wanting of my own shower and bed... but there are definitely some perks that my home convent doesn't have.  The beach, the ocean, delicious home cooked meals ready for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a beautiful chapel with seaside air, and lots of really wonderful nuns from all over coming together to pray and play.

Our mornings include sleeping in - nun style (which really isn't sleeping in to most people, haha), pick-up breakfast and Mass in our convent.  After Mass the sisters who aren't on retreat start doing their charges or their jobs around the house.  Everyone has a job but the sisters on retreat do something simple like cut vegetables while we try to do the things that would be intrusive to their retreat times.  It is nice to be able to help them have a good retreat.  In the afternoons we go down to the beach, swim in the ocean, relax in the air conditioned community room or on the porch overlooking the ocean, or go down to the main drag and look in the little shore shops or buy candy for our home convents.  Then we have prayers and dinner and more time to hang loose.  It is a lovely schedule - I think it's how God meant it to be :).

One set back has been the heat wave which has also been an occasion of unity through suffering.  Everyone is a little bit miserable from the heat so we are all trying to make one another comfortable.  It's been fun hearing everyone's remedies and seeing the kindness of the sisters who's bedrooms get the ocean breeze leaving their doors open so the rest of us can get a little cool air during the night.

Right now I can hear the ocean out my bedroom window and I am excited to sleep when the temperature is less than 90 in my room with the sound of the ocean waves around me.  Tomorrow begins the next retreat so it will be quiet around here and there will be a lot to do around the house - but there will still be that beautiful background of the sea.      

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did summer start yet...?

Well, tonight I called my sister friend who is generously driving me down the shore this week.  On the phone I complained and complained and complained some more until my friend did a really supportive and intelligent thing.  First she asked me why I didn't want to go to the shore... so I listed my reasons.  Number 1 - I am tired of sleeping in other people's beds... I want to sleep in my own.  Number 2 - I want to shower in my own shower without carrying my shampoo and things down a hallway.  Number 3 - I need some time to myself... I'm tired of being social.  After my friend listened to all my reasons she said she understood but I was being negative - she is so honest and reaffirming at the same time.  She never said I was selfish about the shower or that there are people who don't have any bed to sleep in.  She just took me where I was and told me it was going to be a good few weeks down the shore if I could stop being a stick in the mud.

I've been away doing service more this summer and have done more work than I did during the school year.  I just want a few days to relax but I am excited to be down the shore these days.  I'll be working but it will also be relaxing to spend some time in the sun.  It's super hot here but I'm sure I'll survive.  Just say a prayer that tomorrow I can snap into action and stop being such a party pooper.  I want to have fun... I really do, haha.

The other problem that you probably wouldn't guess a nun would have is that I can't fit all my stuff in my bag... I hate packing.  It is the thing I am the worst at.  I think... I might want... I might use... I might need... and I never use those things.  The other problem I have is that I hate the process of packing so much that I just throw stuff in.  It doesn't help.  It is actually quite funny from an outsiders point of view though... you should see me, haha.

So here I am at 10:30 blogging when my bags are unpacked and I'm unprepared to go down the shore.  Jesus help me!  Goodnight friends... and sorry it's been so long!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Community and Confession

This past week has been an insanely busy one... it was especially hard because in my mind I know I should be on some beach somewhere relaxing and enjoying the summer... but instead, I was driving from one workshop to another and only stopping to sleep at my convent.  The rest of the time I was on the road.  I love being busy and I love to go to workshops and to work on different projects with different people.  I like to talk and to share ideas - but by the end of this week I was ready to crash.

On Friday night when I came back to the convent I dropped by bags on the floor of my bedroom and collapsed.  It was like 7 pm and I was out for the night, haha.  The next day I decided instead of going to the parish Mass in the morning I would sleep in and go to a nearby shrine that has confessions and Mass in the afternoon.  It is also a shrine that has significance for my community so it made it that much nicer.

I've been struggling this summer with some personal conflicts with some sisters.  (Yes, we have conflicts and broken relationships and negativity too.)  The basic situation is that I lived with these sisters at a very difficult time in my life and they were less than understanding.  As a result, I made some mistakes.  Because I "knew" that they didn't care - I didn't treat them as if I cared either.  Since then, I tried to explain my actions and ask for forgiveness for what I did wrong and while I have heard the words, "It's okay," the actions do not match that.  It is still being held against me.  Meanwhile, no one has ever apologized to me.

So I'm going to be spending a lot of concentrated time with these sisters this summer and I see the need for reconciliation.  I also know that I've done everything I can do to make that happen.  I see in the big picture of our future that we have to put these silly things behind us - but I think because they are so close with one another they don't see this need in the same way.

Anyway, I've been thinking about it and I was uncomfortable with my attitude towards those sisters and with the way I was feeling.  So when I went to confession I told the priest that I really felt resentful.  I also knew that I was holding onto it, that I was measuring who was "better" and who was "right" and how much I had done to mend these relationships and how little they had.  Of course I was the "better" and "right" one - so I included pride in my confession as well.

So Father was wonderful.  He spoke so passionately about how when these feelings come it is the time to pray and that's all there is to it!  There is no past, we live in the present and though the past colors it we have the gift as children of God of freedom.  So regardless of how my sisters choose to use their freedom, I have dedicated mine to living a particular way in the present and I will continue to try to reconcile.  I pray that they do the same and I know that they are trying to live the best that they can at this moment.  I have to remember that even if they don't put value on our relationship as sisters - they are putting value on something that is maybe more important right now.  We are all working on love - for God, for people, for community, for prayer - and somehow I'm sure it will all come together.