Sunday, March 28, 2010


The rainy weather outside might have stopped our outdoor Palm Sunday procession but it didn't stop the beauty of our liturgy inside.  We gathered in our lounge for the blessing of the palms and the reading of the Gospel.  We then processed around the cloister walk into our chapel.  It was beautiful to hear the instrumental music and then, as the procession progressed, the beauty of our voices joining the organ in song.  As we begin this holy week, we are reminded that we walk the way of the cross with Jesus so that we might also rise with him.  May we be faithful to the journey before us.

This weekend we had special guests that joined us for the Palm Sunday liturgy.  Twelve students from St. Bede's Academy in Peru, Illinois, spent the weekend with us.  Their chaplain, Fr. Ronald Margheiro, OSB, brought them for a Benedictine Hospitality Weekend.  

They joined us for meals, prayer and Mass.  Five of our sisters shared the Benedictine charism with them through conversations about prayer, work, community, hospitality and stewardship. Sisters also served as their prayer partners .  They  had the opportunity to participate in service as they helped us clean out flower beds at the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center.  On Friday evening they joined the community for recreation and then on Saturday evening they enjoyed a movie with some of the sisters. A fun trip to downtown Indy was also on the schedule with a stop at Steak & Shake for a treat.

They were delightful young men and women and so much fun to be with.  My prayer for each of them is that they may continue to grow in the love of Christ and neighbor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The Annunciation . . . Today we celebrate the Mary's resounding YES to God's call.  What a day of celebration it is.  At Mass today, we sang Dan Schutte's song - "Song of Mary".  I love the refrain "Blessed be the name of Mary, she who trusted the love of God."  May we, like Mary, listen to God's call in our lives.  And may we, like Mary, respond with a resounding YES!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Students model treating each other like Christ

I am the K-8 Music Teacher at St. Malachy Parish School in Brownsburg, IN. Last week, we held our annual 4th/5th Grade concert. Our students sang various folk songs, played instruments, and even performed a folk dance. But the unique, and probably most exciting and rewarding aspect of this concert for our students is that we hosted the Middle School/High School Choir from the Indianapolis School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to perform on our concert. We sang our songs, they sang theirs, and then we closed the concert by performing two songs together.

This concert has been a joint effort between our two schools for the past several years. A couple of years ago, we decided to have the students be pen pals. So, each year, as the time for the concert approaches, pen pals are assigned, and our students write to each other. This has been such a wonderful experience for all of the students. The St. Malachy students are so excited receive letters in Braille (transcribed by their teachers) or large font, and the ISBVI students are thrilled to receive those from St. Malachy.

As the evening of the concert approaches, the excitement builds as the students anticipate meeting and talking to their pen pals before the concert begins. For my students, this is always the most exciting part of the evening. Last week I was so touched by how accepting and caring the students were of each other when they finally met – it was truly heartwarming. Here are some of the comments made by some of my 4th grade students as they reflected on the experience a couple of days after the concert. “I was surprised by how much they know and do.” “It was nice to realize people aren’t always just what’s on the outside.” “You understand that with determination you can do anything.” “It seems like they aren’t really blind.” “I saw how lucky I am to be able to see.” “I felt sad that he had to work extra hard.” [I will always remember] “how beautiful we sang together.”

These young students modeled for me how Christ desires us to accept and love each other, and how St. Benedict instructs us to treat each other as Christ. How different our world would be if we could all respond to those different from us in such a caring way. That night I understood more clearly why Jesus tells us that we must become like little children in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is in the air . . .

Today is a beautiful day at Our Lady of Grace Monastery.  This morning we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph with Morning Prayer and Mass.  The music and texts for this feast are so powerful.  Joseph opened himself to God's grace and stepped into the mystery of his calling with deep trust and hope.  He is a model for each of us as we follow God's call in our own lives.  May St. Joseph intercede for us this day.

The Feast of St. Joseph falls on the edge of SPRING.  Today we are enjoying a beautiful spring day.  The sun is shining and it is a gift to be able to take a walk outside.  We are just beginning to see signs of spring. A few green buds on a FEW trees, beautiful purple crocuses and daffodils that are ready to open themselves to the sun.  

I absolutely love this time of year. The earth is coming alive again after the long winter. All that has been dormant is now waking up. It is only a couple of weeks until we celebrate the Feast of Easter. May all that has been working within us this Lent wake up to the joy of life in the resurrection!  I absolutely love this time of year. The earth is coming alive again after the long winter. All that has been dormant is now waking up. It is only a couple of weeks until we celebrate the Feast of Easter. May all that has been working within us this Lent wake up to the joy of life in the resurrection!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lenten Check-Up

This morning as I took time for silence and some journaling, I became deeply aware of the gift that the season of Lent is in my life.  It is a time of spring cleaning both outwardly and inwardly.  Usually during Lent I take time to go through the things that I have and take inventory of what I really need.  This is a great exercise because it is amazing how much one can accumulate without even realizing it.   As I do this, it also reminds me of the clutter within that also needs tending to and must not be forgotten.  The Lenten disciplines that I have been practicing are supposed to help me let go of some of this clutter and turn my attention more fully to God.  As I reflected on the disciplines I have been practicing, I became aware of those areas that I have been faithful to and those that need a little more attention.  Today God blessed me with a Lenten Check-Up.  There are still more days of Lent for me to deeper in my practices.  By doing so, I will truly be able to look forward to Easter with the "holy longing" that Benedict speaks about.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Discerning God's Call

The past two weekends have been busy ones at Our Lady of Grace Monastery.  Over the weekend of February 19 - 21 six women joined us for the Benedictine Experience weekend.  They joined us for prayer, meals and recreation.  Throughout the weekend sisters shared different aspects of the Benedictine life with these women. Each woman that attended the retreat had a deep desire to seek God in her life.  As they asked questions and shared experiences, it was evident that they want to follow God's call.  

This past weekend we were part of the Nun Run.  Five women joined us on Friday evening for a meal and sharing about the Benedictine life.  They spent the night at our retreat center.  The next day they visited the Providence sisters, Franciscan sisters, Sisters of Charity and the Little Sisters of the Poor.  They returned to our Lady of Grace at 9:00 p.m. to get their cars and head home.  While they looked tired from their day, they were filled with enthusiasm for what they had learned.  

Both of these experiences were life-giving!  It is a gift and a privilege to journey with women who are trying to listen to God's call with humility and integrity.  Please pray for these young women that they might have the courage and generosity to respond to God's call.