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Showing posts from January, 2009


A week ago today I was scurrying around preparing to leave on a 15 hour bus ride with 20 members of my parish to participate in the 36th annual March for Life. I took a break in the packing action to make my weekly visits to the grade school. I decided to introduce them to the idea of the right to life with a little help from my friend, Dr. Seuss. I read them “Horton Hears a Who” which draws on the line “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” I told them that shortly after leaving their class, I would be going to Washington, D.C. to help make sure that the people who work there, especially our new president, knew that “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Those little ones got it, they believed it, and they couldn’t understand how anyone would question what Dr. Seuss says so plainly. One of them even suggested we send the book to our elected officials. Dr. Seuss aside, one would think that God’s word would weigh a little heavier and if that isn’t good enough, natural law stand

Making His Merciful Love Visible in the Classroom

Catholic Schools Week is well underway. A time to celebrate the amazing gift of the formation in the faith that students receive in Catholic Schools across the United States. It's also a time when it brings to my mind a strong reflection on the Providence of God in our American Province, Saint Elizabeth. Our community's first solid apostolic work in the United States was health care. Saint Anthony's Hospital and the Mother of Good Counsel Home were, for many years, our sole apostolates. We had a few Sisters involved in education through the 1960's and '70's, but it was not until the early 1980's that God saw fit to expand our apostolic work in education. Many schools at the parish and diocesan level were in need of religious. Mother M. Ingeborg discerned that it was time to train Sisters specifically for education. Nearly thirty years later, approximately one third of the Sisters in our Province serve in education. We work at all levels, from daycare to univ

Contemplating the Apostolic Work of a Superior

On January 18th, Saint Francis Convent witnessed a gathering which takes place early each year. The superiors and Sisters-in-Charge all come together for a time of reflection, prayer and discussion, to strengthen and support them in their apostolic service to our Sisters. So often in thinking about the vow of obedience, we think in terms of the subject, "the one who obeys" and the responsibility and privilege of giving our lives to God through the full dedication of our wills. But there is always the one who is called to mediate that mystery. In order to make obedience concrete and real, we have to have a face and a voice to obey. It is an awesome responsibility and one that no human being can do perfectly. To wield spiritual authority, to have the obligation to provide an example to others of exemplary service, to exercise patience, mildness, and also to ensure the careful keeping of the Rule, to accompany the Sisters in their quest to serve Christ, to challenge them and

Obedience Works Miracles

Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a number of occasions to ponder our vow of obedience and how it is lived out in the day to day of my life. Last week at St. James Academy, where our Sisters serve, we celebrated vocation awareness week with Sisters, Brothers and priests from a variety of religious communities and the diocesan priesthood. It was a time for our students to ask questions about our life - and, as they feel most comfortable grilling their teachers, extorting our vocation stories from each of us. (It's also a great excuse to avoid a lecture on polynomials.) And so in the process of all of that, I had the opportunity to tell the stories that mean so much in a religious life: how God calls initially, and the excitement and uncertainty of that initial call, and the ways in which His call grows as we respond. I was a 'baptized pagan' living in Northern California, and a junior in high school, when I picked up a Catholic Digest and discovered that "they

"Little Mary"

Sister Mariela Age: 21 years old From: Kansas City, Kansas It's been four months since Reception when we received our habit, veil and new name. Now being a canonical novice, being gifted with a year of working at the convent and spending much prayer time getting to know the Lord in a much deeper way and learning many things about myself. It's truly a blessing to get to write about His outpouring of grace in my life. On August 15th, the day of Reception, I took the name Sr. Mariela. Mariela means "little Mary" in Italian. When praying about the name I would take, the Lord kept leading me to the Visitation, the joyful mystery in which Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. I continued to see traces of teh Visitation in my life, experiences of great joy given by Jesus Christ, through relationships, prayer, and yes-es to visits from the Lord. It's a great privilege to take my name after the Mother of God, and like Mary's, I want my soul to echo "my soul proc