Recently I had the opportunity to participate via Facetime in a talk presented at our Martin de Porres Center in Columbus. Sr. Lisa Marie Belz, Ursuline Sister from Cleveland spoke on the topic, Growing our Capacity for God: Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross in Prayer.
This week the nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was invited to be the guest speaker for a service honoring Dr. King held at The Community of Holy Rosary St. John Catholic Church in Columbus, OH on January 19, 2015. It was a great privilege for me to take part in this event. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the text of my talk for the occasion (click here).
As a novice, I was often found devouring books from the convent library in my quest to learn all I could about Religious Life, Sisters, and how to emulate the one's I knew and admired. One such book, From Nuns to Sisters by Sr. Maria Augusta Neal, SNDdeN was one I remember well and delighted in discussing with my sisters. This book and many others written by Sisters after Vatican II have influenced my understanding of and growth in Religious Life.
"Show me your friends, and I'll tell you who you are!" My mother was a treasure trove of such sayings, and while I cannot remember the particular circumstances that prompted her proclaiming this one to me, it obviously made an impression. Kids have a new "best friend" every week to be sure, and parents fear their kids will fall in with the "wrong crowd." Perhaps that's why my mom was exhorting me. I find that my mom's 'sayings' still influence my life and ministry and come back to me when I least expect them. I can’t call them up cold, but they pop into my head at opportune times, and this saying is on my mind today. There is something true in it - our friends do reveal something about us—something about who we are at our core, and about what we value.
"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." - Wade Davis
As I watch the news these days, I am touched by the pain of so many in our country and in our world. Differences in perspectives and differences in realities can often lead to destructive and violent behaviors toward those who do not share the same model of reality. Even in my personal relationships, I can sometimes be less patient with those who share an opinion different from my own.
Really! He has sent each of us a friend request with his letter proclaiming the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life. He even signed it like a friend would, "Francis." That was all. With real friends their name is enough. In this simple act, he has drawn us all into his circle of friends.
"It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our life time only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work." (Excerpt from "A Future Not Our Own" by Bishop Ken Untener)
This past week, the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) held its Convocation in Chicago where this professional organization for Vocation Ministers began 25 years ago. Happy Jubilee, NRVC! The Transfiguration of Jesus was echoed in the convocation theme: It Is Good that We Are Here. Rise and Have No Fear!
Dominicans were very much 'there' sharing the fruits of their contemplation. Dominican Sisters of Peace attended along with Dominicans of Adrian, Amityville, Blauvelt, Mission San Jose, Sinsinawa, Sparkill, Springfield and St. Albert Province of Dominican Friars.
Sisters and Associates, are you willing to welcome our new candidate, Margaret, support her with prayer, share your knowledge and experience with her, and receive her gifts? Margaret, are you willing to participate in the prayer life of the Church with us?
Margaret, are you willing to enter into a study of Sacred Truth and our Dominican heritage?
Margaret, are you willing to share in the life of our community?
In the context of the Liturgy of the Hours these questions formed the basis of the agreement that our newest candidate, Margaret Uche, made with us and we with her. Her discernment continues as she now lives with us in community with three of our Sisters and another candidate.