May 1, 2017

"Whatever the task, work as serving the Lord and not man": Reflections from the field

In honor of St. Joseph the worker, today we begin a three-part series compliments of our Second-Year Novices.  These sisters are preparing to make their first profession of vows and have reflected on their six month mission experience where they shared in the active apostolates of our community.  

Today's reflection comes from Sr. John Mary, named for Pope St. John Paul II, whose theology of work and of the human person informed her mission experience at Bonacum House in Lincoln, NE.

“Perhaps God wills to give that person to you,” Pope St. John Paul II’s spiritual director once said to him in the beginning years of his priesthood.  These words served to help him, as he put it, “…trust God and accept the gift one man becomes for the other.”  This “communion of persons” is at the heart of our mission as disciples of Christ and the six months I spent at Bonacum House in Lincoln, Nebraska.  As a retirement home for priests in which our sisters also live and work, it was a unique opportunity to witness how God calls us to a culture of communion. 

While the apostolate consists of domestic duties such as cooking and cleaning, the heart of it all is really the essence of our charism, to make the merciful love of Christ visible, both to the priest residents and our sisters.  I was constantly in awe of the ways the Lord’s desire to give Himself to us was manifested, whether in the sacraments, through our sisters, the priests and staff, and simply the unexpected gifts and events of each day.  For example, when one of the priests was ill I had the honor of bringing Holy Communion to him (this was quite the role reversal as the priest is usually the one giving me Holy Communion).  Upon my arrival with the Blessed Sacrament he became extremely reverent and freely prayed in gratitude that the Lord had come to him.  I returned to the Chapel with a sense of humble gratitude for the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist and His tender attentiveness to each of us.  This presence of God’s love created an atmosphere of constant gratitude which made for a very joyful six months.  I am immensely grateful for the gift I received at Bonacum House as I recall the following words of Pope St. John Paul II, “We must ourselves be a total gift…in order to recognize, in every man, the gift that he is, and to thank the Giver for the gift of the human person.”

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