Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Activities

Today will be a busy Saturday. The greatest joy will be this evening when our postulant is received into the novitiate. Her parents are here to celebrate with the community, and it is good to re-connect with her family as they spend a few days with us. This morning two other sisters and I are going to a funeral of a woman whose daughter attended our Academy. The daughter is now working in our health care facility and is also an Benedictine oblate associated with our community. At some time in the future we will celebrate a Mass at the monastery for the deceased woman and invite her family to join us.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today in my class we were paleontologists. We searched and dug bones from our "cookieasaurus" search site. We used special tools and and then a special scientists even donated a special tool for us to use. You are probably wondering what in the world I am talking about. We used tooth picks and paper clips as tools and searched out chocolate chips out of cookies. We then caculated how much we made minus costs. We had a great time!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home, Sweet, Home

The Easter Season has been very busy for me. The day after Easter, I headed to Minnesota for the National Catholic Education Association Convention. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot and met some great people! I had experiences I will treasure- including a session on teaching spelling to strugglers and a session with David Haaas) Then, after a weekend with friends, school started up again. But, Monday night, my principal asks me to go to a tmulti--day training in Carmel, Indiana for Minds in Motion. That was very thought-provoking! Then, we had First Communion. Everything has been so wonderful, and I feel refreshed and energized, but it's also so nice to be home! After two weeks of being away, it is nice to spend time with my sisters and reconnect with them! And, I got to go to a First Communion party today that was a blast! YEAH! After Confirmation tomorrow night, hopefully, things will settle down.

School Choir

My student choir meets on Tuesdays after school to get ready for our school Mass on Thursdays. This past Thursday's Mass, according to one of the kids, was our "Scrimmage Mass," getting us ready for the Sunday Parish Mass that the kids sang at today.

Before Mass, I was making sure the kids had all their music, knew the expectations, and were well warmed up when one of the students raised his hand and asked, "Are we having donuts after Mass?" Mmmmm . . . . priorities.

I did tell them we'd have donuts. I bought 4 dozen. Those kids along with family members scarfed down every last donut and every drop of milk. I told one kid, "I was hoping for leftovers." She responded, "You thought there'd be leftover donuts??????!!!!!!!! I would have never thought that!" Oh, well. I did get one before they were all gone.

The kids sang very well. I was very proud of them, and they received lots of compliments. One mom even said she had tears in her eyes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday on Mission

Phew! Today I had my first unscheduled Saturday in over a month! A lot of weekends I'm headed back to the monastery for some meeting, celebration, class, or other event, and it's always nice to be "home" with the sisters there when I go. But at the same time, it's nice to stay "home" on mission too. It's all about a little catching up on rest, time to pray, cleaning up and doing laundry, baking some cookies, writing some letters and going jogging on a glorious spring day. What's this? A religious sister also gets to live a normal person's life? Sweet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't Be So Crabby!

I made these crab hats for our spring program. I think I'm going to keep one around for myself to remind me not to be crabby.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


My heart overflows with the inexpressible delight of God's love!

Three years ago, with community, family and friends watching, I made a three year profession to God of stability, obedience and conversatio (fidelity to the monastic way of life). Last night, in a simple ceremony before the sisters of my community, I renewed this temporary monastic profession. In the hours before this ceremony, I suffered greatly from the proverbial "cold feet." Do I really want to sign away another three years of my life? Can't I live a good, Christian life without spending the next three years in this monastery? What if I change my mind and don't want to do this anymore? Monastic life has never been easy for me, wouldn't it be simpler to quit now? Doubt washed over me and fear struck deep at my core.

And then... the church bells rang. The bells that have rung three times a day, every day of these last three years. The bells that call us all to stop what we're doing and make our way to prayer. Those bells pulled me out of my fear and I followed all of my sisters down the long hallway to our church. I stood in the Blessed Virgin Room, a small room just outside of the church where the community gathers every Saturday evening. I stood in that room and watched the rest of my sisters gather. Some offered hugs, some even broke the silence to offer a simple word of encouragement. Most just lined up, awaiting the call to prayer that is so much a part of our lives.

There, standing in that ever familiar room, the schola intoned the first notes of the call to prayer and the community joined, just as they have for the last three years of my professed life, as they have for the last 143 years of our community life, as they have for the last 1,500 years of Benedictine life. And in that moment, as our voices were joined as one in our prayer to God, I truly was renewed. The doubt that overtook me washed away and the call of God returned to my heart. This community is a part of me just as I am a part of it. Through all of the struggles, the pain, the arguments, the loss that we have endured, we continue to strive together to discover God in the every day. I could not imagine walking any other path.

I was blessed last night to stand before God and the saints and the sisters of Monastery Immaculate Conception and renew my monastic profession. But I was even more blessed that God renewed the call within me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Good to be home

This weekend we have a gathering of all our temporary professed sisters in formation. Last night, a number of us newer in community got together to just relax and be together, and this morning we talked about our community's Guiding Principles, and what they mean in our experience. It's so good to reconnect with other young sisters who usually are out "on mission" away from the monastery, and to soak up the beautiful liturgy and love of the larger community at home.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Celebration

This is the first Easter since my dad's death. During Holy Week, it was actually helpful to realize in a new way that Christ does know what it is like to face suffering and death. Likewise, the Easter celebration brings a fuller realization that loved ones are not gone but raised to new life with Christ. While I have known all this, there is definitely a different understanding as I think of my dad. There is still sorrow, but it really is tempered with hope and peace.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just the Beginning

Rejoice! Jesus is risen and we're on spring break. Can life get any better? I wonder how things would be if stores followed the liturgical year? They wouldn't start getting ready for Christmas right after Halloween. Also, Easter would be just beginning. I don't mind all the Easter candy going on sale; however, we still have 50 days to celebrate the Easter season according to the liturgical year. Let's load up on 1/2 price chocolate and do it up right.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all our blog readers! May the peace and blessings of the Risen Jesus be yours! Here at the monastery we've had beautifully simple and rich liturgies. I love the simplicity and silence of the Triduum here. Today though it was wonderful to hear all the instruments again and sing out "Alleluia!" in full voice.

I thank God for my Benedictine community and for the rich traditions we follow!

God bless you all and may Jesus reign in your hearts!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Dinner

I'm not a cook. A show I enjoyed watching recently was called Worst Cooks in America. People were nominated by friends and family as the worst cook. They were then put in 2 teams and taught basic cooking tips and expected to turn out dishes with some help from their teacher. One person went home each week until only one was left and declared the winner.

I agonized right along with them. Simple instructions really do sound like a foreign language to me. I like instructions that say, "Remove from wrapper and place in oven/microwave."

As Easter approaches, I remember some kitchen disasters that would have made me a perfect candidate for the show. One time I made mashed potatoes that turned out runny. It was more like potato soup. My brother then banned me from ever making mashed potatoes again. Another time I attempted deviled eggs. Once again I was banned from ever making deviled eggs. At least I tried and learned from my mistakes. Thankfully that show wasn't around when I was creating all these disasters. I'm sure he would have submitted my name.

Even though I was "banned," I have made mashed potatoes and deviled eggs since then and have been successful. Here's to all the cooks out there getting ready for Easter dinner. If all else fails, at least there's always chocolate and jelly beans.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Texting is certainly it's own language. As one of the classes was leaving my room the other day, I gave each one of the students a sticker. They all responded, "Thank you." One student, however, said, "TY."