September 4, 2009

Come and Rest Awhile

On July 19, 2009, Sister Eva-Maria, Sister Marianna, and myself traveled to New York City. They both told me that once we stepped off the subway and climbed the steps up to the street, we would be in a new world. As I emerged from the underground, I immediately was bombarded with tall buildings and the noise of taxis driving by. I quickly realized that I was in a place unlike any other place I had ever been. I attempted to take all the sights and sounds in as we walked from Penn Station and went past Times Square, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center where we saw the TODAY show weatherwoman, Janice Huff. We then headed towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

When we arrived at St. Patrick’s, I was amazed at the beauty of the structure. It seemed to be a beacon of hope and place of refuge in the midst of chaos. As I walked into the Cathedral and saw the side altars, the stained glass windows, and the many statues I was overcome with a sense of peace. I truly felt as if I was in the company of the Saints in Heaven. It reminded me that we as religious have been created for something more than this world can provide. We have been set apart to live consecrated lives and be a witness of hope to all those we encounter in our daily lives.

We then knelt and eagerly awaited the start of Mass, as we knew that His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Dolan would be the main celebrant. In his homily, the Archbishop referenced the line in the Gospel where Jesus speaks to the apostles and says “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). Archbishop Dolan said that Jesus invites us to do the same. He emphasized how we all need to take time out of our busy schedules to quiet our hearts and listen to God. Archbishop Dolan expressed that we all need to find ways to really speak to God and give Him our heart. It does not matter when, where or how as long as we do it. Prayer is our source for everything and is where we come in contact with Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Prayer is what gives us the strength to keep going and brings meaning to our lives.
As Mass ended, the Archbishop smiled at us, came over to us, and invited us for coffee in his residence. We felt honored to be extended such an invitation. We then visited with him for a while. Sister Eva-Maria, Sister Marianna and I were inspired by his joy and the fatherly care he showed each one of us. It reminded me that we truly can find fulfillment in our lives when we are doing God’s will.

After leaving the residence we ventured down to see the World Trade Center and St. Peter’s Church where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was received and confirmed in the Catholic faith and also where they have a cross of steel that was found in the rubble from the collapse of the twin towers. We walked along the water and went to the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. What struck us most is that here is this old church and then built right next to it is this high-rise office building. It reiterated for me that God chooses to work in hidden subtle ways and that we have to search to find Him but He is there.

Even though we did not necessarily have spiritual conversations with anyone we encountered, we still were a witness to all those we passed on the streets and in the subway. As we were walking, a couple told us that they were on their way to church. When we came into St. Patrick’s, a woman who visited our community a couple of years ago recognized us and told us she had visited us and loves our community. When we were in line for lunch, a little 4-year-old boy came up behind us and said “Daddy, Daddy, where do they go to church?” and his dad responded by tapping me on the shoulder and telling his son to ask me. I told him and he smiled and then had his little 2-year-old sister meet us. After visiting the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we went to get some ice cream and when we went to pay for our ice cream, the worker at the ice cream stand told us it was on him. These encounters were reminders to me that all the hidden sacrifices we make in our daily fidelity to Christ do bear fruit. Despite all the bad things in today’s world, there are still good people out there who respect religious and are grateful for our witness of hope. I believe I can honestly say that our day in New York was full of many graces for the three of us and that the highlight of our trip was our time with Archbishop Dolan. We truly can find God any where even in the chaos of a city like New York if we silence our heart and listen. May we all heed the words of the Gospel and “come away by [ourselves] to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31).

- submitted by Sister M. Dolorosa, FSGM


Michaela said...

ooo....I love New York! I went in 2004 because my former babysitter made her first profession in the Sisters of Life!(my mom was the only one invited but we turned it into a family vacation)

Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful story to hear and a reminder to all of us that in any situation God is always there. Thank you!

royalcattle said...

What a blessing to be in the Big Apple with your sisters and to spend time with Bishop Dolan on top of everything else. May God continue to bless your community for all the radiance you exude to those you encounter.
p.s. can't wait to meet the new postulants on your blog!
God Bless you all!!

Reviewer11 said...

Beautiful entry! I truly enjoyed it. And I'm so happy that you and your sisters had a wonderful time at NY.

Yay! I found a Catholic blog. I’ve been feeling hunger to communicate with those in the religious life through blogging. :)

Anonymous said...

It is so nice to read your blog and see what your community is up to. Have the new postulants arrived? Please reveal them to us soon, as the suspense is getting greater as each day passes. God bless you each for sharing so freely for the sake of His Kingdom.