Monday, October 14, 2013


LUKE 7:11 - 19 -  The healing of the ten lepers and the one who returned and gave thanks.

This gospel got me sent to the Principal’s office in 4th grade.  Sr. Joseph Anina asked us to illustrate the gospel.  All of my classmates had the one grateful leper kneeling before Jesus.  I did not even have Jesus in my picture.  Scandalous?  Apparently so, judging from my teacher’s reaction! 

In the first panel, I drew the lepers, on their way to the priests, engaged in conversation.  One was sad that even Jesus would not touch him.  Another was complaining about how the people in the synagogue or temple always looked down on him.  Another was hopeful that by the time they reached the priests, maybe they would be healed.  The Samaritan, whom I dressed differently than the rest, started to notice that his skin was looking strangely clear, and maybe Jesus had helped them after all.

In the 2nd panel, all the lepers were now clean and yelling excitedly.  A few got to the priests, a few were so excited they skipped the priest and just went home.  The Samaritan thanked the priest and then, in a thought bubble, decided he wanted to find Jesus to say thanks. 

I thought I had a great imagination.  Sr. Joseph Anina thought I missed the whole point of the story.

Maybe I did miss what she thought was important, but looking back through much older eyes and a lifetime of experiences, I think I learned much from this story.

First, I am impressed by the lepers’ request of Jesus to have pity on them.  Surely they had heard of His other miracles, and were bold enough to ask for the same consideration.  They had to shout their request because they were unclean and therefore not allowed near other people.  They remind me of Benedict’s directive, “Never lose hope in God’s mercy.”

When Jesus directed them to go the priests, they did not question Him.  They went on their way.  This echoes Benedict’s chapter on obedience where he speaks of obedience as listening and responding as a single step.

It’s interesting that the gospel says that the one who returned to Jesus “realized that he had been healed.”  If a leper no longer has leprosy, that would be immediately noticeable, so the healing must be more than skin-deep.  A leper, now cured, would also have to let go of the bitterness and suffering experienced by being ostracized from the community… a healing of emotions, spirit and psyche.

I think it is THAT insight that compels the Samaritan to find Jesus and thank Him.

Don’t we all have moments like that in our lives?  Times that, in retrospect, we realize that we have been gifted or healed or helped in some way?  Do we give thanks to God for that good fortune?  Do we make the effort to thank the people who were involved in our transformation?

Before I made first vows here, I spent a lot of time looking at the path that brought me here and realized that my former community had been very influential in my spiritual growth.  With that insight, I was able to let go of the hurt of being turned down for final vows and my heart was massaged and softened to the point where I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all they had taught me… the easy lessons as well as the ones that were painful and challenging.  I wrote a brief thank you note, and was pleasantly surprised when the first 2 cards I received for profession were from my Marianist sisters.  No hard feelings, no regrets, just prayers and blessings for the journey.

So, perhaps this gospel is about recognizing our woundedness, recognizing those who bring us healing, and being grateful for the faith that is the thread holding everything together.

Perhaps Jesus knew, as Bishop Tobin said, that “gratitude is the attitude that will make ministry (and, my own insertion,  the Reign of God) credible.”

May we be people with grateful hearts today and always.

Monday, July 15, 2013

25th Jubilee Celebration - Sr. Nicolette and Sr. Betty Jean

Sr. Nicolette and Sr. Betty Jean celebrated their 25th Jubilee of Monastic Profession.  It was a wonderful day of celebration for us.  What a gift to be able to celebrate their faithfulness to God and God's abiding and faithful love for them.  Enjoy this video of the renewal of their monastic promises.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Saturday, July 22, 2013 was a great day of celebration for our community as Postulant Susan and Postulant Gayla were received into our novitiate.  They are now Sister Susan Nicole and Sister Gayla Marie.  Surrounded by the monastic community and family they said yes to God's call for them as they took this big step.  The day following this special ceremony,  the community began their annual retreat.  It was a gift that our new novices could begin their novitiate year in retreat.  Please hold them in your prayers as they begin the next part of their vocation journey.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sr. Anne Louise and Sr. Susan Elizabeth Receive Community Blessing

On Tuesday, May 21st, Sr. Anne Louise and Sr. Susan Elizabeth went to Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota to attend the Novice and Director Institute.  Benedictine Novices from around the country will be gathering to learn more about the Benedictine life and to have the opportunity to share their experience of religious life with one another.  It is also an opportunity for their Formation Directors to connect with one another and learn from each other.

At the end of Mass on Tuesday morning, Sr. Anne Louise and Sr. Susan Elizabeth were called forward to stand before the community so that they could receive the community's sung blessing.  After Mass we gathered by the front door of the monastery to hug them goodbye and to wish them well on their journey.

We invite you to join us in praying for both of them and all the novices and directors who will be gathering at Sacred Heart Monastery.  They will return to us on Friday, May 31st.  We will be eagerly awaiting their return and look forward to learning all about their  experience.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


We are called by God to do something with our lives, to live with purpose.  I'd like to share Pope Francis' word around the important issue of call. In the Vision E-Letter, one finds the following:

"IN HIS WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS ADDRESS earlier this month, Pope Francis asked the young people in the crowd: Have you sometimes heard the Lord's voice, in a desire, in a worry, did he invite you to follow him more closely? . . . Have you wanted to be apostles of Jesus?  . . . Ask Jesus what he wants of you and be brave! Be brave! Ask him this!

Then at a Confirmation ceremony this past Sunday, Francis told the confirmants: "Remain steadfast in the journey of faith. Listen carefully, young people, swim against the tide; it's good for the heart, but it takes courage."
The Pope's repeated appeals for bravery and courage serve as reminders to all of us that Christian discipleship requires hard choices and selfless acts. "We Christians weren't chosen by the Lord to do little things," says Pope Francis."

What are you called to do with your life?  Every day we are called to stretch the tent of our heart to be something bigger.  Bigger for God and bigger for others!

Friday, March 22, 2013


In just a couple of days we will begin the solemn journey of Holy Week.  Palm Sunday is a day of Hosannas and the cry of the crowd who turns on Jesus even as they just honored him with hosannas.  As we walk with Jesus on Palm Sunday all the way to the cross, may we open ourselves to the amazing gift we are given in a savior loves us and gives his life for us.

At our monastery on Palm Sunday we usually process outside with the cross, banners and flowers.  We process outside with the music of bells and a drum moving us as we sing Hosanna.  When we enter the chapel the mood becomes more solemn as we prepare to hear the reading of the passion.  At the end of Mass, we leave in silence.

It is a powerful time making us deeply aware of what we are saying yes to as Christians.  We must walk the way to Calvary if we want to rise with Christ.

Reflect on your experiences of Palm Sunday.  Ask God for the grace to enter fully into this powerful liturgy.


Lord jesus, Savior of the world and Redeemer of all, give us the grace to understand more deeply the mystery of the cross.  We need your courage to participate in the work of redemption.  As we stand at the foot of the cross with Mayr, may our fait deepen, our hope be renewed, and our love increase a hundredfold.  Amen.
(Prayer by Bishop Morneau)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Pope Francis gave a wonderful homily on the day of his installation.  I have posted several paragraphs here.

"The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Pope Francis calls us to not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness.  How do you nurture goodness and tenderness in your life?  Lent is a time of opening our heart to God. Benedict's call to watch over ourselves, our emotions is an important one.  As we nurture goodness in our lives we are able to build up ourselves and others for the Kingdom of God.

Gracious God,
you call us to love you in tenderness and mercy and to share this love with others.
May all we do build up ourselves and others so that we may fully serve you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.