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Showing posts from July, 2008

Catie's Reflection

Yesterday I wrote my soon-to-be Sister name on a document that actually has importance (a.k.a., more official than the girly scribbled signatures in my notebook). This was, of course, after I was reminded of the change to occur regarding the signature bound to me and had to scribble out “Catie”. As I penciled in the letters “Sister Marysia, I felt like a kindergartner struggling to learn the “feel” of my new title. In receiving this name, representing the Polish form of Mary, I pray to learn not just how to form the letters it contains, but how to be formed in the Son which her fiat allowed her to contain. I want to imitate Mary’s trust, openness, and love to conceive Love in all that I am and do. So soon the letters I struggle to remember to write will be a sign of an interior formation that will take much longer than perfecting my signature.

Sarah Ann's Reflection

Pretty soon I will be called by a new name. This new name, Sister Mariela, signifies my new life in Christ and His specific calling of my name to receive all He wants to give. Mariela is a form of Mary, and I will celebrate my nameday on the Feast of the Visitation. When reflecting on what name the Lord wanted me to take, the Visitation kept coming to mind. This Joyful Mystery of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth and her proclamation of the Lord’s goodness seemed to pervade and set the theme for much of my life. In whatever form it may come, I want to receive joyfully all He wants to give, to carry out His will alone, like our Mother Mary did. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47).

Elizabeth's Reflection

As a young college student anxiously trying to discern my vocation, I felt torn between the family and friends whom I love so much and the desire in my heart to dedicate myself to God. In my searching for what to do, I visited Assisi while I was studying abroad in Italy. I was immediately inspired by the story of St. Clare through the frescoes of her life in the Basilica of St. Clare. As I knelt down at her tomb, I begged her for guidance and asked her how she was so courageous in following God’s will. Beginning at that moment, she has been a source of encouragement and strength for me. Now that I have read more about St. Clare’s life, I see myself reflected in her and connect with her call “to be a light to the world”. When it finally came time to pick a religious name, I was excited to choose Sister M. Chiara. Chiara is the Italian form of Clare, and means the clear one. I pray that, like St. Clare, I may be a clear light for God to shine through for the Church and the world.

Reflections on Taking a New Religious Name

Sarah's Reflection Reception is fast approaching for us postulants. Among the numerous other changes that will occur on that day such as dress, hairstyle, occupation, and status in the Community, what we are called will be different. The changing of names may seem like a rather mysterious part of the ceremony. After all, the name Sarah has served me well for the past twenty-four years. Someone says it, I answer. Simple, right? Isn’t identification a name’s main purpose? Well, yes and no. The custom for a religious to take a new name is an ancient custom. Take a look at the book of Genesis. God calls Abram from his homeland to be “the father of a host of nations”, and gives him the name Abraham. God changes his name first to identify his calling. A name reveals the essence of a thing and the essence of a thing determines its mission or purpose, being what it is and doing that which is in accordance with its nature. In short, our name gives us an insight into who we are and who we ar

Sister M. Dolorosa's Reflection

“But whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:7-8). In meditating upon my upcoming profession of vows, the words “in poverty” are what touch my heart the most. By the vow of poverty, I am saying that Jesus Christ will be my everything. As my spouse, I can share everything with Him. In giving Him everything, I am receiving everything I could ever want or need. Jesus will be my source of strength, my hopes, my dreams, my joys, and my consolation in the midst of sorrow. He is the one who gives me life and the one who will lead me. He willingly died for me, and now I am being asked to follow Him and empty myself of all that I am, including my weakness. Only by emptying myself am I able to receive His love and His grace, for “(His) grace is sufficient for me, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:12).

Sister M. Faustina's Reflection

“With a firm resolve to consecrate myself to God, and to follow Christ unconditionally…” This sentence of the vow formula is meaningful to me because it reflects the deliberate, whole-hearted choice I am making to give all of myself as a consecrated woman to Christ and to this Community. It is a response of “yes” to God’s will and to His call, and is connected with all His invitations made to me throughout my life to grow and love more deeply. Making first profession is a natural deepening of this relationship that enables it to flourish and grow in accord with His will. I have to say that my only possible reaction to this reality is a real, deep, and amazing joy! To be united with Him will mean a deeper sharing in the pain of His cross and in His resurrection, but I know that I can trust in the support of His grace to never leave me. I seek to make these promises to God with “a firm resolve” because I know I can place all my trust in His faithful and unfailing mercy. There is so much

Sister M. Judith's Reflection

The part of our vow formula that means so much to me is the line, “To follow Christ.” In order to “follow” someone, you have to be able to trust him or her. When you trust someone, you place yourself in a very vulnerable situation. You have to open your heart and decide to follow this person wherever he or she goes, without knowing ahead of time where he or she will go or where he or she will lead you. This sort of trust is only possible in love. Not a selfish love that only desires to receive. Trust is only possible in a true love that is willing to give without thinking about what I will “get out of it”. Only true love can suffer without knowing why. Only true love can obey when it doesn’t make sense. Only true love can trust and follow without seeing the path, and only true love never gives up.

Sister M. Eucharia's Reflection

Greetings! My name is Sister M. Eucharia. I am a second year novice who, along with five others, will be pronouncing vows for the first time on August 15th. The formula that we use for saying our vows is, I think, very simple and beautiful. My favorite part is at the beginning, “with a firm resolve to consecrate myself to God, and to follow Christ unconditionally.” What powerful words these are! They say to me, “Be faithful and firm in serving the Lord.” As Christ is my Bridegroom and I, His bride, let nothing separate me from loving and serving Him to the best that I am able. Yet, above all, let me not do anything contrary to what He wills me to do. Christ is the Master, and I am a humble handmaid with my eyes fixed intently on Him whom I love.

To consecrate myself to God and to follow Christ unconditionally

Sister M. Karolyn's Reflection "You, follow me" (John 21:22b). This passage from John's Gospel has been an invitation to me throughout my formation and especially as I prepare to make my first profession of vows. On August 15, I will consecrate myself to Christ through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. To be consecrated means to be set aside, dedicated, and only all for Jesus becoming His possession. This consecration is my response to His invitation. I am not to be set aside for the things of the world or just to do good works, but to be yoked to Him in spousal union so that my works are His works. I will be “crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). This union may mean that I go where I do not want to go or do what I do not wish to do, but through my yes, I choose it. I choose it with an act of my will because I want to go where He goes, to live and die with Him. I am called to choose it without my own con

Reflections by Second Year Novices

As our Second Year Novices prepare for Profession, we hear a few words of their reflections. Sister M. Antonia’s Reflecting upon our vow formula as the day of Profession draws near, the words “With a firm resolve to consecrate myself to God, and to follow Christ unconditionally…” have become a personal reality. With an unwavering determination, I am going to devote myself to God, body and soul, in imitation of Christ crucified, without limitations and despite all obstacles in my path. This is what He has called me to. Our vow formula also states, “with confidence in God, and trusting in the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, and of our Holy Father Francis…” I realize that I can’t love and live the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience alone. It requires trust in God, and not in myself. It requires that I look to those who have gone before me for help: our Blessed Mother, St. Francis, and all of our deceased sisters. With St. Francis, I repeat, “This is what I want, this is wha

Duc in Alton

This is the tale of a not-as-young-as-some woman who is preparing to enter religious life (a.k.a. become a nun). Entry 1: Duc in Alton Welcome!I have less than 2 months until I enter the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Martyr St George. (I’ve been counting down before this point!) I’m a 29 year old female, currently residing in Madison, WI. It’s been a crazy couple months: I quit my job, my roommate graduated and moved, I am defending my dissertation soon… oh, and, I have to get rid of my worldly possessions! But it’s beautiful, too, as I don’t really have enough time to dwell (or mourn) any one of those changes. I wanted to share my experience of that time with you. I take Jesus’ words “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known” (Luke 12:2) pretty literally: If the angels and saints can see it (i.e., if it happens), it’s fair game for humans to hear about, too! While I was beginning the discernment process, I constantly needed to remind mys

Running the Race with St. Paul

Join in, team up, get strong, keep on, celebrate! This was the rally cry of over 30 children who participated in this year’s 26th annual summer program held near Villa Ridge, MO. Presented by our novices, the theme was Victory in Christ: Running the race with St. Paul. In preparation for the year of St. Paul promulgate by Pope Benedict XVI, the students were introduced to St. Paul through prayer and Scripture. As they studied the letters written by St. Paul and the stories of his life from the Acts of the Apostles, they came to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a member of God’s team and how to persevere when the going gets tough. Each day the students attended Mass, met “St. Paul” (one of the novices), sang songs, played games, and made crafts to help them prepare for this Pauline year. During class-time each day, the novices not only taught the children about St. Paul, but also incorporated the seven sacraments with the daily themes. As the two-week program came to a clos