Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What a Blessing

I'm making perpetual profession on October 4.

I'm excited about my friend Jarcia and her family coming from Alabama. Jarcia is a friend of mine from college and is originally from MO. I remember when I went to their wedding. I drove 7 hours from southeast MO to northwest MO. I arrived on Friday, the night before the wedding. While there, I met this guy, and he and I stayed up ALL night talking. I remember thinking he was the one who would break the curse. We were going to fall in love, and he would break the curse of my being called to religious life. I believe I was 19 at the time and just wanted God to leave me alone. We did talk all night and you know a person becomes pretty open and willing to share just about anything at 3 in the morning. The wedding was one of the most beautiful I had ever gone to. After being up all day and night Friday, going to the wedding, and helping out at the reception, I then drove 7 hours back to southeast MO. I did have a friend who rode with me about 5 hours of the trip. Her snoring helped keep me awake for driving. I believe I had lots of caffeine, the windows down, and the music blaring the rest of the 2 hours home. I arrived home sometime Saturday night and probably didn't wake up until Monday morning.

It's interesting to think of how I viewed religious life before I learned the truth about it. Before I took the time to visit places, meet sisters, and learn the facts. It's also interesting to think of how I viewed God's calling me. I prayed for God to leave me alone. I tried to explain to God that I was being confused with a girl down the street. Her name was also Katherine. Same name, but spelled differently. Surely God would make this correction.

The first person I told I felt called to religious life was my friend Jill. Her response was priceless. She said, "What a blessing." She saw the beauty right away, but it took me years to realize it. In fact, I had spent years fighting it, trying to get out of it. It was a blessing when I was finally able to surrender. Not surrendering, giving up, but surrendering, giving in to a higher being. I've been in the community 7 years now. I know, without a doubt, that I am truly blessed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reflection on Sunday's Gospel

Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
By: Sr. Anita Louise Lowe, OSB

Matthew 21: 28-32

When asked to do something, what is our response? Do we say yes or no? But more importantly than what we say, how do we act?

In this Gospel passage, we hear Jesus asking the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of the people: “Which son obeyed his father? The one who said yes, but did not go to work in the vineyard, or the one who said no, but later had a change of heart and went to work?”

To obey, as we know, means to listen—to listen for God’s voice in the myriad of ways God can speak to us and to the depths of our heart—and then to act on the message we hear. It sounds easy, but we all know better. First, we have to sift through the various voices and messages to determine which might be coming from God. Then, we have to choose to act on that message…or not.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, in commenting on this Gospel story, notices a theme of wrestling with God similar to the wrestling of Jacob with the angel and of Job as he dealt with suffering and hardship. He says that such a wrestling invites us to a certain type of prayer: “Prayer isn’t meant to be a simple acquiescence to God’s will. It’s meant to be an acquiescence, yes, but…one that comes to us at the end of a long struggle.” He continues, “God expects that, at some point, we will kick…and offer some resistance.”

The son who said no but later went to work in the vineyard must have done a bit of inner wrestling. We can all imagine the dialogue that might have taken place within him before he had a change of heart and went to do that to which he initially had said, “No.”

Jesus’ story and questioning of the religious leaders is a sort of indictment against them. They have said yes to doing God’s will but now refuse to submit to John’s baptism of repentance and refuse to see the work of God in Jesus’ words and actions. Jesus’ followers, on the other hand, are a “rag-tag group” composed of sinners—even prostitutes and tax collectors—the worst of all! These initially said no and chose to do other than God’s will. Yet, they listened to John, and they listened to Jesus. They were open to change.

And what about us? This Gospel story is a call to each of us to examine ourselves and our responses to requests and calls. When asked to do something by the community, do we say yes but proceed to do our own will? Or do we say no at first, but then wrestle with ourselves and with God until we have a change of heart? How well do we listen and obey?

As Jesus said in another place, those who have the closest relationship with him are “those who hear the word of God and do it.” May it be so for each of us.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Choice Theory

I just finished reading a book called Choice Theory by William Glasser. In his book, he makes many valid points. He says we are predominantly a society based on control. Most of our schools run on control. I tell you what to do. You do it, and I reward you. You don't do it, and I punish you. If you still don't do it, I punish you even more. Soon we have students who are always being punished and become fed up. They stop caring maybe because they think others have stopped caring about them. Some school, as well as relationships, businesses, or any other groups, are run on control. Who's going to win? Who's going to have control? The Result: failed marriages, failed relationships, and unhappy workers and students.

I know I'd rather be shown respect and care and not control. Knowing what my needs are helps me as I teach and also form relationships with others. I know I have been able to grow and become who I am because of people's acceptance, not because of their control. Why wouldn't I want to show others acceptance and allow them to grow in their own time?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So last weekend, before the winds came through and wiped out the local power, I went to the local beauty school to get a haircut. I was looking for a change, and I would have let the sister I live with cut it, as she normally does a perfectly fine job, but she said that as it had grown out a lot, a pro probably needed to do it this time first, and then she could follow their lead next time.

If you're on a slim budget, beauty schools are a good deal if you're looking for a cheap haircut. Generally you come out looking good, too, because the head haircutting teachers won't let the students ruin you.

So there I was, and this very nice young woman starts cutting my hair. And after a while she asks, "Have you ever colored your hair?" And I wonder if she can see my seven gray hairs. "Yeah, at one time it was almost strawberry blonde, and I've had streaks put in before." Not too long after that, the head teacher lady comes by, and ruffling through my locks asks, "Have you ever put some color in your hair? I love browns- this would look great with an auburn tone." My student continues cutting, and I comment that my crazy waves are going every which direction; without help they do have a mind of their own. And she says, "That's what flat irons and all that jazz are for. Do you own a flat iron?" And I say no, though it might be a worthwhile investment. "Yes," she says. "You must get a flat iron."

As she starts wrapping things up with her own flat iron, and my hair is looking pretty nice, she's getting comfortable with me: "Have you ever worn makeup?" And I don't have the heart to tell this lady whose business it is to make me look good that I'm a nun, though she might have guessed as much if she noticed the big Benedictine medal around my neck, under the cape. "Yes, I used to," I grin, " I kind of gave it up out of a simple living choice." Thoughtful silence. I could tell that this polished young lady could not comprehend how an otherwise marriageable looking young woman in Louisville would not be flat ironing her highlighted hair and wearing makeup.

As she brushes off the hair from my shoulders, I thank her for the wonderful cut. "You're so welcome!" she says, double checking to see that she didn't miss anything. "And next time you're here, let's put in some color. And get a flat iron... And you really should wear some makeup."

Good News!!

Guess what? My mom is coming to visit in November. I'm so excited.
When I first entered community (16 years ago), she would come 2 or 3 times a year. She and my dad would drive up from Arkansas and we would just hang out. These past few years she has been unable to make the drive. But, my sister is going to bring her up for the Christkindlmarkt.
Isn't it strange that when I was in High School, my mom got on my nerves and all I wanted to do is to be as far away from her as possible. Now, I miss her. I miss her hugs, the way she smells, the way she spells out cuss words, and her day to day wisdom.
I wish I knew when I was in High School that she would end up being my hero, I might have given her more of a break. I wish that I knew then how much I would miss her, I might have stayed home a little more and played cards. But, I'm also glad that I've realized how important she is me and how she has made me who I am today.
Did I tell you that she is turning 80 years old the weekend that she is coming up. I'll have to think of some way to celebrate. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Exciting Times

Hi Folks,

I thought I'd post some words for you today since it's been a couple of weeks since you've heard from me!

The last time I wrote, I had just started my new job as the Director of Music Ministry at the Newman Center at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Three weeks later, things are going great! The music ministry program is growing fast and we are able to do some really cool music! We had the church rockin' on Sunday, September 14th (The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) when we did Rich Mullins' song "Hope to Carry On." Next week for our prelude, my college choir is singing a piece in the African language of Shona. That is going to be really cool!

Last Wednesday, September 17th, I took in my first Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra concert with guest soloist, violinist Joshua Bell. If you don't know Joshua Bell, you need to look him up on YouTube! He's amazing!!! If you saw the movie "The Red Violin" he played all of the background music for that movie. The concert was amazing--and free too because he is an alumn of IU!

If the orchestra concert wasn't enough excitement for the week, on Saturday, September 20th I was invited to attend an IU Hoosiers vs. Ball State Cardinals football game. (That's me in the pink Hoosiers T-shirt!) Even though my team lost 20-42, the game was still exciting. Oh...do please pray for the wide receiver from Ball State, Dante Love. He took a head-on hit from one of our guys and suffered a fracture in his neck! He underwent 5 hours of surgery on Sunday morning and as a result can move all four of his limbs. He has a long road ahead of him though so send your prayers his way!

This week I'm heading home to the Motherhouse for a few days. Since I live "on mission," I try to get home as often as I can to reconnect with the home community. While I'm beginning to really love mission life, I very much miss my friends that live at home.

I hope everyone reading this is well. Look for me again in the coming days and weeks!

Sister Kim

My Birthday

Last Friday was my birthday. It was a great day. My students sang to me twice. Another teacher brought in donuts. I live at mission house with 2 other sisters in Rockport, IN. We decided that we are going to celebrate each sisters feast day and birthday. We went out to eat at O'Charleys. It was a good evening. I also found out that I am going to be an aunt again. My brother and his wife are expecting their second child. It is always a joy for the family to get bigger.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Equinox Egg

Today is the fall equinox. The equinox occurs when the Earth's position on its axis, as it rotates around the sun, places the sun directly over the Earth's equator. On this day, day and night are of approximately equal length. Legend has it that on the equinoxes, when all things are equal, one can balance an egg straight up.

Because this was the topic of our conversation at the table during lunch and the meteorologist on T.V. did it, I felt the desire to try it myself. Sure enough after not much effort at all I was indeed able to get the egg to stand on end. So I took the egg up to my living group to show the sisters there my proud accomplishment. To my dismay, the egg refused to stand! So I went to my office to make some phone calls and decided to try again and wouldn’t you know first try that egg stood straight up!

Now, some scientists say this egg trick actually has nothing to do with the equinox. They say you can balance an egg on its end any time of the year if you have the patience. All I know is it worked for me today. Will I try it again tomorrow or in 3 days to see if the scientists are right – probably not. But, it sure was fun to try today.

Happy equinox, wherever you are!

Winds of Change

Ditto to Sister Kathleen Marie's post. I too live with Sister and what a change it was. I was grateful for the time of quiet and living one day at a time. It felt like I was suspended in time and that week was certainly a gift from God. I also did not focus on the future but on keeping the generator running and shutting it down at night and then starting it up in the morning. I was very happy that we have a gas water heater so at least we had the comfort of a hot shower every day. The simple joys of life are really appreciated in times of trouble.

I felt that we did very well at our house with adjusting to the circumstances. We spent most of the days on the back porch and our evenings playing card games by candle light. The first two evenings we used an old bucket and made a small fire to make S'more's and singing along with Sister Kathleen playing the guitar. Little Boxes, Take me Home Country Roads, Rocky Top, and Yellow Submarine were just a few of the songs we sung. We were not worried about what time it was or what preparations to make for the next day. Just simple living that came through the experience of hurricane Ike.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Living in the Now

When Hurricane Ike's winds began to rip through the city of Louisville last Sunday, I didn't worry too much about it. I was working at school, focused on writing a test for my geometry students and grading notebooks from students in my Algebra I classes. I was also checking my e-mail, looking up some videos for my homeroom class and thinking of all of the things that I still needed to do when I got home.

Just as I entered the last notebook grade into my on-line gradebook, the power flickered once, then failed completely. Left alone in the dark in the midst of a most impressive windstorm, I grabbed a few things I thought I could work on at home and headed out of the school.

It wasn't until I made it halfway home and discovered that all of the main routes to our convent were blocked, that I began to think of something other than my list of tasks to be accomplished. With tree limbs and garbage swirling around me at an alarming rate, I began to realize that this storm was more serious than any I'd experienced. By the time I arrived home, about two hours after I had left school, the storm had ended and the city was quiet in more ways than one. Electricity had been cut to nearly 300,000 residents leaving most of the city in the dark. The usual hum of our refrigerator, computers and air conditioner had been silenced. The other sisters who live on my mission were gathered in our darkened living room, discussing what had just occurred and what needed to be done until the power came back on.

It's amazing how quickly priorities change. When I left the house, I was consumed entirely with the week ahead: what needed to be done at school, the friend I was trying to meet, the chores I had left unfinished in the house. Upon my return, we had more immediate, pressing needs: how to prepare supper, where are the extra candles and flashlights, where can we get ice so that we can save our food if this continues. I was no longer thinking about tomorrow, but about what is going on around me, right now.

This storm was kind of a wake-up call for me. So often I let myself become consumed with things that are about to happen, that I forget about what is going on around me. Over the last week (yes, five days later the power has still not been restored), I have had lots of time to sit and reflect upon the present moment. I could not plan for tomorrow, as I did not know what tomorrow would bring. Will there be school? Will I be able to use the computer to finish my test? Will we able to make our supper in the kitchen? I was forced to take each day at a time, each task at a time, and take nothing in the future for granted. After the initial shock wore off, I found the time to be a gift. I could be more present to my housemates as I was not so worried about where I have to be next. I could enjoy the peace and quiet that comes when all the appliances are stilled because I was not trying to live in the future. I could even relax into my prayer time as I was in no hurry to move on to anything else. These are all things that I think I need to learn to do in ordinary life. Amazing how God can speak in so many ways!

Though I will be extremely grateful when electricity returns and schools reopen, I will be a little sad to lose this time that I believe has been a true gift from God.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Worth Reading

I am an avid reader. Over the summer, my "real" sister (one of my most favorite people in the world) recommended a book entitled Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I like to read fiction, but tend to lean more towards mysteries filled with suspense. My sister likes to read books that make a difference or "matter." She is a very good conversationalist, and I suspect it has something to do with the type of material that she reads (that and the fact that she began speaking early and has always had a lot to say). My sister loaned me Love Walked In while I was visiting her in California, but I ran out of time to read it before I left. I recently checked it out of our public library here in Louisville (which is the most awesome public library system I have ever experienced). I started reading this book and I couldn't stop. It was so good. I love the way de los Santos wrote it. I felt like she was telling me the story of Cornelia and Clare and all of the people in their lives, rather than simply spinning a good tale. I felt like she knew these people intimately and it made me want to know more about them too. So, if you are looking for a good work of fiction, I recommend this highly.


Do you know what my favorite sound is? No, it's not the opening notes of Vivaldi's Four Seasons or even the crackling noise of bacon in the frying pan (although that is a very good sound). It's not even the sound of the wind rustling the trees (and we had plenty of that last weekend here in Louisville) or the sound of our church bells ringing calling us to prayer (also a wonderful sound). I decided last Saturday that my favorite sound in the whole world is the sound of my mom's voice when I call her on the telephone. She usually lets the answering machine screen her calls, but last weekend she answered the phone right before the answering maching picked up. When I said hello, she said "Hiiii" in the warmest, most welcoming tone of voice -- like I was the most important person in the world and the one to whom she wanted to speak most at that moment. It made me feel very good -- all warm and fuzzy inside, like she had somehow sent a hug through thousands of miles of telephone cables right to me.
As I pondered this throughout the week, I thought that God would probably speak to us that way, if only we could hear God's voice in the same way we can hear the voices of our loved ones here on earth. Can't you just hear God saying, "I love you so much and I just can't wait to just sit and talk to you. I have been waiting for you to call me and I am so glad that you did."? Since most of us cannot hear God speaking plainly in words that we can understand, God relies on other means.
This past week has been one of hardship for many of the people here in Louisville. Winds from Hurricane Ike came through here on Sunday and broke trees as if they were match sticks and twisted electrical wires into knots. The public schools were not in session all week due to the lack of power and the impassable conditions of some of the streets. Some homes and businesses continue to be without power and some of the homes in Southern Indiana across the river from Louisville have been without power and water because the water companies rely on electricity to pump the water into the towns for use. People have handled this situation remarkably well, and a lot of people have been sharing with one another. This situation had the potential to be far more difficult than it was, and I think that God's love resonated throughout this in the actions of neighbors and strangers as well as police, fire, emergency personnel, men and women of the national guard, and those working to restore power and water. The dedication is intense.
I realize, though, that our situation here, while tough, pales in comparison to the devastation in Texas. On television, however, I have seen stories of resilience and determination, and know that God's love is present and abundant there as well. I continue to hold in prayer all who have been affected by the hurricanes and flooding. May you feel God's peace surrounding you and strengthening you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thoughts of God from Atlanta

I just got back last night from a weekend visit to Atlanta. I was there because my nephew was being baptized, and I was asked to be a godparent. It was a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful day! In the midst of the family fun, laughing with my playful niece, and spending time with people I hadn't seen in a while, God was definitely there- speaking in awesome ways. During the baptism, as I was standing there, I couldn't help but think about how special God's call is to each of us- the call that comes through our own baptism. God loves each of us and has a unique plan for each of us. That is an amazing thing! Sometimes, it's harder for me to figure out where God is leading me than others, but as I held baby Jack, a sense of trust came to me. God's in control, and God is never going to let me down, let anyone down. God loves us enough to call us as children. Even though I may mess up a lot, as long as I stay in touch with God, somehow I'll know what I need to know in God's time. It was a welcome reminder for me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This fall I've joined the RCIA team at my local parish in Louisville. I will be helping accompany a group of people who are thinking about becoming Catholic. Thursday we had our second meeting, and I loved it! One of the other team members was presenting on the Creed, and every so often we would go off on a tangent to explore another angle on an issue. For instance, when we got to the part "I believe in the Holy Spirit," we had to pause and share how we imagine the Holy Spirit to be. One woman had always heard this Person of the Trinity called the Holy Ghost, so she imagined it to be "like a ghost: white sheet, holes cut out for eyes!" But she knew that couldn't be the whole picture. Another woman talked about having heard the Trinity presented as an apple: one person the skin, another the flesh, and the other the core: all necessary for one apple, but different aspects. I shared my own understanding of the Spirit (Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma, Latin anima) as wind or the breath of God breathing in us. And so we'd share. And then we'd get back to wherever we were in the Creed.

Some of these inquirers have not had much formation in any tradition; others already have a deep faith. I am floored by how connected they are with God. And yet they want to know Catholicism. They have so much to bring to the Church, and I am so excited to get to journey with them. Their seeking God strengthens mine. In teaching Sacraments during the day, I've been sharing with my high school students about the adult process of coming to the Church; on Thursday evenings, I get to live it with real seekers. Wow. What a gift.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cracked Up

This has been the view out my office window for the past couple weeks. Two men have been working diligently on the ever-so-tedious task of sealing tiny cracks in the mortar of the bricks of our monastery church. Starting at the bottom of the rose window and working their way up they have searched and sealed one brick at time. What a job! This is an important task in that even the slightest crack can allow water in and cause damage to the inside. As I've watched them I have pondered the tiny cracks in my life - the business, inactivity, drifting thoughts in prayer... Though none of these "cracks" are monumental in themselves, left alone they could eventually cause damage. I am aware that I need to slow down, get outside, go for walks, and focus in prayer. As I continue to watch these men “heal” our church, I will take extra care to not become too cracked up myself!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Birthday Surprise

Believe it or not, we're already getting ready for our Christmas program at school. The students have lots to memorize. I asked the students what the date was for Christmas. One knew it was December 25. She said she knew because it was her dad's birthday. Another kid said, "Your dad is Jesus!" I told her they were just born on the same date, so another kid said, "Your dad's as old as Jesus?"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Just For Fun

Sunday and Monday I had the privilege of participating in our Dome Gala and Classic. The Gala had a Hawaiian theme and the spirit was very up beat and relaxing. It was a time to talk with those people who support our community in many ways. Many people from the local area as well as the Louisville area were present. There was music and dancing. As Sister Teresa said in her blog that you are as young as you feel is absolutely true. There were people in their 70's "cutting up the rug" on the dance floor to the sounds of Big Band music. My students would have certainly thought that we were all nuts!
Monday was the Dome Classic Golf Scramble. We had a beautiful day to golf and enjoy the outdoors. Although I had some great drives and putts it was fun just to enjoy the game. Our team, the sisters, were the last place team with a gross score of 95. So when they called our name for the first place net score we were all in shock. We just went out to have fun and enjoy the day because we knew that we were not the best players on the course. We love the game and that is what counts. Life is fun so enjoy your day and take time to play!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Who cares how old you are?

I set up this blog this morning...and I entered my birth year --1967. When I checked what was there it said that I was born in 1941!! That would make me 67 years old. I thought dude...that's old. Then I remember that when my students usually ask me how old I am, I tell them 67...thinking that they'll figure out that's the year I was born. Anyway, it was kind of a shock, but I know some Sisters who are older than 67 and they are living a life of youth. They are involved in so many activites and ministries. Some even have more energy than I do. It also makes me wonder, as I mature, how am I going about getting older? Am I acting like I'm so old that I have no energy to be with community, or am I trying to live each day to the fullest and get all that I can out of it...for we do not know what tomorrow brings. From what I've been told, the older you get, the faster the time goes...so go enjoy today, do something fun, then go hang out with an elderly person and see what they have to teach you.

Reflection on Sunday's Readings

Almost every Saturday evening for 1st Vespers of Sunday, one of our sisters gives a relection on that Sunday's Gospel. This weekend Sister Mary Carmen gave a wonderful reflection. Enjoy!

Reflection for the 23rd Sunday of the Year – Cycle A By Sr. Mary Carmen Spayd

Allow me to paraphrase a portion of the first reading from Ezekiel for this Sunday. “You, Sisters of this monastery—you, spiritual direction interns—I have appointed you watchpersons for this community, for your families. If I warn the wayward one and you fail to dissuade that one from her/his sinful way, I will hold you responsible.” The second reading from Romans, I think, tempers Ezekiel’s warning with the statement, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another for the one who loves another fulfills the law.” And in the Gospel just read to us Christ lists for his disciples the steps to be taken to bring about reconciliation between persons at odds with each other. Thus it should be quite obvious to us that scripture points out our obligation to help one another to turn from sin, to grow in holiness, and to attain eternal salvation.

Each one of us has a need to turn from some type of sinfulness or laxity and thus we need to hear the Divine Word, as well as the warning words of community and family—not just with the ear but with open hearts. In this week’s
Living with Christ, Phyllis Groux stresses this so well, stating that the intentional opening of one’s inner ears to the word of another, especially God’s word, is quite different from letting mere sound wash over our ears. She continues that whether and how well we hear is not just OUR business; it affects others as well. Closing ones heart cuts off the voice of others and thus fractures community life and breaks down the Body of Christ.

Where better to open our heart ears than in the presence of one another within the church community, within this very chapel. Recall that prior to August 21,
2005, this place was merely a structure in process--of stone, sand, wood, plaster, and marble. It became a holy place only through the rite of anointing and sprinkling of holy water and the intercession of the Holy Spirit; and, yes, by the presence of a loving, holy community of people. Likewise, a newly built house is transformed into a home only through the presence of loving family members who help one another become better parents, better children, concerned neighbors.
Buildings change for better or worse because of its inhabitants.

Within the confines of this holy place we are most blessed, given the opportunity daily to hear Jesus’ words to us about changing, experiencing conversion, becoming new. That renewal happens in a community of love which “does no evil to the neighbor.” We become something “other” than we are through concerned community members, spiritual directors, family members, or good friends who draw us out of our selfish “me, myself, and I” tendency; our opinionated attitudes; our critical stance of everything under the sun, our stubborn spirit, our lack of concern for the needs of others.

The church’s liturgy reminds us unceasingly of the need for healing and forgiveness. For example, the Penitential Rite at the beginning of each Mass gives us the opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness and to be reconciled with one another. Unfortunately, and I speak for myself, we too frequently allow this rite to be a meaningless, blank, or distracted opportunity. Recently I have told myself, “Mary Carmen, get with it; pay attention; God is talking to you.”

As we survey the world around us, we see the tremendous need for conversion and reconciliation also within families, church communities, local government and nations at large. Even though the situation seems so totally hopeless much of the time, we must remember that with prayer all things are possible and that hearts of stone can be melted as St. Monica experienced with St. Augustine. Moreover, let us lead and encourage through good example.

In closing, let me quote again from Living with Christ, “May our hearts be open to hear, our words wise and courageous, for the sake of the Body of which we are a part.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What's in a name?

I teach music to 3 year olds to 8th graders. The other day, one of the kindergarteners said, "Hi, Catherine Sister."

I'm glad to be in the school so children can see that we're "normal" people. We're no different than anyone else - just going through life, seeking God, listening for God's will, and trying to do our best with the gifts we have.

The other day, we were singing a song in class. I told the students that God had created everything and that God would never forget us. God has given us every single breath we breathe. It's awe inspiring to think of your breath and see everything as a gift from God. One student then asked, "Who created God?" Of course, that's mind boggling. Then another kid asked, "Who created Heck?" I guess he thought he'd be in trouble if he used the word "Hell" in class.

God has created each one of us, and each person is in our life for a reason. I'm thankful for the Notre Dame Academy families, staff, and students who are in my life. I have lots of laughs throughout the day. I pray that in my own small way I can be Christ to them.

How True!

I enjoyed Sister Briana's blog about starting retreat. I remember my first silent retreat at the monastery. I prayed, took a nap, went for a walk, spent time with God, read the Bible, and had a great time meditating and being in silence. That was all in the morning. By the afternoon of that first day I had no idea what to do next! I'm an extrovert - a people person. I told my retreat director I was about to go crazy. Silence was good for a few hours, but how was I ever going to make it the rest of the week. I came from college and enjoyed the dorms. I didn't know what silence was. With the help of my retreat director, Sister Maria, I survived the week. Each summer I go on a week long retreat. Also, each summer I have made progress and start to go crazy later and later in the week. It took me a while to settle into silence - leaving all distractions and truly listening and spending time with God. All time is sacred. Over the years, I've come to an understanding of the beauty and sacredness of silence.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Weekend at the monastery

At least every couple weeks or so, I make the hour drive from my mission house back to the monastery. This weekend I made the trek for a gathering of the sisters in initial formation (the newer folks who haven't yet made final profession). Sister Kristine Anne, our prioress (Head Nun, a.k.a. Nun Number 1), and our subprioress Sister Jane Will (Nun Number 2), gave a presentation on good communication and how we work on that in community. It was a relaxing day, and it was good to catch up with the other formation people.

I always love coming home and joining our sisters for prayer in our church. While we also pray daily with the other sisters on mission, when you sit in a bench amid the bigger community and hear the chant echoing off those almost-one-hundred-year-old gorgeous walls, you just know, "I'm home."

And Monday, back to a week teaching Sacraments!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Beginnings and Endings

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Of course, we can also receive this message from the song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" -- which is actually what was going through my head when I began this post.
This has been a week of endings and beginnings for me. Tonight I spent several hours cleaning out my office at my workplace in preparation for my last day there tomorrow. I work as a child therapist and have been working with boys in a residential treatment facility. I know that I bring Benedictinism into the workplace because the nature of the job and the type of clientele calls me to receive all as Christ. I know that when I go to work I am carried foward by the love and prayers of my sisters. I could not do that work without their love and support.
I am looking forward to beginning a new job as a school-based therapist later this month. I am also looking forward to starting retreat tomorrow. When I first entered as a postulant, I didn't think that I would be able to be with God in the silence for eight days. Now, thirteen years later, I eagerly anticipate it. I will keep all of you in my prayers during the week.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Adventures!

Hi Everyone,

I've entitled this blog "New Adventures" because I am on one right now!

Not only is this my first new adventure as a "blogger" and this past week I've been learning how to use "Facebook," but on August 1st of this year, I began a new ministry as a Director of Music Ministry at St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington, Indiana. St. Paul's is the Newman Center and campus parish for Indiana University. This is a really great place to be because there are so many extremely talented musicians in the School of Music here and we can really "rock out" but also play some real peaceful and meditative music creating an environment of contemplation. And, as a young Benedictine Sister, I work with three Dominican priests and one Dominican brother, so I am learning about their order too!

I hope to post more in the future! I hope everyone enjoys the blog!

Sister Kim


I am excited about this new blog th at we have. I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say. I am a 4th grade teacher and love to read and complete puzzles. I wanted to let you all know about this great thing that is happening in Spencer County. A group of people are reinacting the flatboat ride of Abraham Lincoln. They are setting off from right here in Rockport, IN. My class and I are going to see them during their send off. This is soooo exciting.

Another Academic Year

School is well under way for all teachers and students. I know that my students are into their routines and happy to see their friends. The smiles and alert eyes of the first week have now succumb to heavy eye lids and missing homework of the second week. Each year teaching becomes a new adventure in how to motivate the youth to learn their lessons and to learn to relate to God. May all who are teachers and students have the graces they need to persevere in their studies this year.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This Little Girl is Amazing!

Sit back and enjoy! This little 4 year old girl is just beautiful. Her love for God comes right through. I watch this whenever I need a pick-me-up and it never fails to pick up up! I hope it does the same for you. Turn your volume up (after the ad)!