Saturday, June 19, 2010

98/27 . . . Beautiful Friendship!

On June 17, Postulant Heather celebrated her first birthday in the monastery.  It was a great day for her as she celebrated the gift of life and the gift of friendship in community.  One of the gifts Heather brings to our community is the gift of energy and enthusiasm.  

Heather's parents sent her a birthday gift that no other sister has received - ROLLERBLADES! They came with all the accessories needed to keep her safe.  I was sitting in my office when Heather came rolling in to show me her new gift.  She asked if we could find Sr. Mary Sylvester to show her the gift as well.  So off we went to find her.  As you can see from the picture, Sr. Mary Sylvester has her own wheels and won't be asking to use Heather's rollerblades anytime soon.  

It has been beautiful to witness the friendship that has developed between the two of them.   Sr. Mary Sylvester is ONLY 71 years older than Heather! They share deeply and delight in life together.   She laughs as Heather teases her and Heather listens intently as she shares stories from the history of our community.  Their beautiful friendship shares the gift of generational living.  As St. Benedict teaches us there is always something to be shared and learned by the young and the old.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Little Things In Life

A good number of the sisters in our monastery are retired from active ministry (although they contribute much to community in terms of both small jobs and prayer) We call them our "senior sisters", not because of their age as much as in recognition of the years of wisdom and life experience which they now share with us. I have the privilege of coordinating activities for them once or twice a month.

Today we had an ice cream party. Nothing fantastic, just a cone or a bowl of some 'fun' flavors, a class of lemonade and some casual conversation. There is something that seems almost decadent about taking an ice cream break at 2 pm in the afternoon. Several of the other sisters and even a guest or two joined us for a tasty treat.

I was overwhelmed by the gratitude the senior sisters expressed for what seemed like such a small thing for me. To have something different in their very scheduled day, to give themselves permission to relax in the midst of their work was something they saw as gift. Their genuinely happy response reminded me again that it is the small things we do each day, sometimes without even thinking, that often have the greatest impact. Imagine how much more our little deeds could mean if we did them mindfully! Who know there was so much wisdom in an ice cream cone?

Sr. Theresine's Jubilee

On Sunday, June 6, Sr. Theresine Will celebrated her 60th Jubilee.  It was a wonderful celebration with her monastic community and her family.  Enjoy the video!

Theresine's Jubilee

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning How to Feed Others

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Christ. I am always struck at the sequence of Sunday celebrations in spring: Easter, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi. It's as if, in a nutshell, I am being reminded of the core elements of my Catholic faith: the paschal mystery, the presence of the Spirit, the mystery of three persons in one God, and the Bread of Life which is intended to nourish me for Kingdom living and Kingdom building.
Being a disciple means imitating Jesus. Jesus fed the hungry, using what was at hand to nourish hungry people. In today's gospel (Lk 9:11-17), the apostles urge Jesus to send the crowds away to find food. Jesus says, "Give them some food yourselves." Aside from the fact that they had little, the apostles were used to going to Jesus to solve the problems that arose. I like to think that Jesus was helping His apostles realize that they had something to offer the crowd, both in terms of physical food and spiritual nourishment. In this monastic community we might call that "hospitality", the ability to respond to others' needs, to invite them to rest and relax, to sit and 'chew on' the Word, to taste the goodness of God. This week, I am going to pray that God will help me see the ways I am being called each day to feed my sister, my neighbor, the stranger. I invite you to do the same!