Saturday, January 30, 2016

Contemplating the Mystery of Mercy–Giving Voice Retreat, 2016

Over Martin Luther King weekend, fourteen sisters in our 20s and 30s gathered, as a group of us does every year, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix, Arizona for a peer led retreat.  Giving Voice, a national organization for sisters under 50, invited us to come together as we contemplated and celebrated Pope Francis’ call to mercy.
Read Sarah Heger's reflection on the experience...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Small Scale Organic Farming is the Answer

A UN report has stated that small scale organic farming is central to the solution to feeding the world's popultion. Read more here....
It strikes me that the same can be said for vocation / formation work. As we move deeper into the 21st Century, we will need small-scale organic vocation formation work.
I often ask myself what will my community look like when my province of 300 sisters becomes a province of 12 sisters. We won't have so many people to be vocation director, ministry coordinator, public relations, etc. We will act more like a family in reaching out to those who may wish to join us. Inviting them into our life will not be a matter of formation houses and formation programs. It will be a matter of inviting them to share our life and to reflect deeply on that experience. Over time, the life itself will be our formation program. We will share prayer, community and ministry. Those who join us will have the opportunity to grow into our life. The formation director will be a companion sister who helps the newcomer to reflect on her experience and to discern her place in community. I look forward to small-scale organic formation.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Re-Imagining Vocation Ministry

The Spirit is very much alive an well in the St. Louis Province as we are in the process of re-imagining vocation ministry. The titles of our various gatherings give an idea of what is happening:

  1. Seeding the Future
  2. Vocation Dreaming Weekend
  3. Brainstorming Vocation / Formation
  4. Expanding Circles of Engagement
  5. Re-imagining Vocation Ministry
These names give the flavor of the journey we are on. They are all action words and the main actor is the Spirit! The photo at the left shows us at then end of the meeting. One sister remarked "I feel more energized at the end of this meeting than at the beginning - that's a good sign!" We all agreed.

We are at the point of beginning to give form to our Seeding, Dreaming, Brainstorming, Expanding and Re-Imagining. Stay tuned as we continue the journey, and send a prayer our way as we too pray for all those who surround and support in us in this sacred space.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Life on Another Level

I just read the article Life on Another Level from a recent issue of America Magazine. The article described the experience of a person sharing life in a mid-western Cistercian monastery. The writer later shared his experience with his students in a religion class in the high-school where he teaches:
The students see the monks as “hardcore,” not just believing the Gospel but living it. True, the students quickly add that the Gospel can be fully lived in the “regular” world, but they concede that monks take the Gospel to “another level.” Hence “hardcore.” When I tell my students about Brother at the monastery in Iowa they listen. They nod their heads in affirmation. “That’s real,” says one.
This is my experience of religious life today. The key draw of religious life for me to day, and the key thing I want to share with others is an experience of living the gospel in an authentic, "hardcore" way. It gives me the opportunity to share life with others who make this radical choice of evangelical simplicity, celibate chastity and community discernment. We do many things during the day, we pray together. We share meals. We share tasks around the house and we go out for ministry. In some ways we are much like every other committed Christian. But we have the opportunity to share this adventure with others who make the same radical commitment, for a life time.

We have been celebrating a Year of Consecrated Life. For me this has been a year of thanksgiving and of re-commitment. I have the opportunity of participating in the closing of this special year in Rome at the end of January, and into February. There, I will join with hundreds of religious from around the globe to say Amen! Alleluia!