Monday, January 31, 2011

We'll miss you, Noreida!

Noreida Paulin and her family enjoyed dinner with us at the monastery on Sunday, but she didn't have to cook it. That's because she recently retired after working 20 years in food services at the monastery. We honored and thanked her for those years. We got to know Noreida very well during her time with us, and to say we'll miss her, is an understatement. We'll miss not only the good food she prepared but also her personal presence. Sisters described her as friendly, a super cook, cheerful, helpful, reliable, humorous, creative, even-tempered, and of course, ever faithful. With all that said, maybe she’ll come back. Happy retirement, Noreida!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Life

Before I entered the monastery, I thought of all the things I was giving up, what I was leaving behind, what I would no longer have. What I didn't know before I entered was how much I would gain. It took losing what I had and entering the monastery before I could become aware of everything I would gain.

It reminds me of the raccoon that holds onto a piece of food or a tin can and gets its arm stuck in a trap. If the raccoon lets go, it will be able to free its arm. But it takes letting go of what it has to gain that freedom and ultimately save its life. If it keeps holding on, it's trapped.

"For whoever wants to save one's life will lose it, but whoever loses one's life for me will save it," (Luke 9:24).

I think of this as we look at moving my mom into an apartment where my brother and his family will be closer and take care of her. With my dad's recent death and Huntington's continually progressing, we don't want her living by herself. We're all giving up a lot to make this transition and are aware of what we're losing.

We're wanting to move her out of a 5-bedroom house into a 1-bedroom apartment. The majority of the possessions will eventually be sold. We're saying good-bye to our home of 30 years. We're saying good-bye to the life we know. We're acknowledging the fact that my mom cannot safely do what she's always done. The nurse who took care of the whole town is now the one who needs the care.

I feel like the raccoon wanting to hold on to what I see and know is real - my own desires and ways of doing things.

I feel like the person looking into religious life, only aware of what I'm giving up and leaving behind.

I'm not aware of what's out there or what we'll gain from all this loss, but with every death, there is new life. "I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit," (John 12:24).

With the grace of God, we'll be able to let go, aware of our losses, but also aware that new life awaits us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Snowy Day

Today the snow has been falling all day! I got out and took some photos. Enjoy.

You can find lots of other snapshots on our Facebook page:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mission Experience

Part of being a Novice in this community, you get to go out on "mission experience." I did some last year as well. This week I am in Louisville, Kentucky with some of our sisters who live here. This is a fun week for me and I am learning a lot!

Monday I went to work with Sister Sarah Cathleen who is the special needs coordinator for St. Raphael's School. I was only there in the morning but we did a lot! We started out giving tests to first graders, then I got to sit with the K-2nd grades and listen to two vocation talks, and then I got to hear the same talks again when the 5-8th grades came in! Then we went back to Sister Sarah's room and gave another test, helped some 2nd graders with a reading assingment/test. Then we quickly ate lunch and Sister Sarah drove me to the Coalition for the Homeless where Sister Mary Frances ministers.

I helped Sister Mary Frances get ready for a meeting by sorting and stapling papers and envelopes. She gave me a description of what she does for the homeless people and organizations designed for the homeless of Louisville. It was all VERY interesting. The meeting was very informative!

Today I was supposed to go to work with Sister Jeanna who teaches at Providence High School, but they had a snow day! The other sisters who are teachers here in this house also had a snow day! So, we have just enjoyed each other's company today! Tomorrow I am supposed to go to Trinity High School where Sister Kathleen Marie teaches. Hopefully it will not be another snow day! Then on Thursday I am going to work with Sister Barbara Jean who teaches Spanish at Sacred Heart Model School, and then on Friday I am going back to St. Raphael's with Sister Sarah and will spend part of the day with the kindergarteners! I am looking forward to it all!

Another aspect of mission life that I really like is that even though we aren't at Ferdinand, we still pray together twice a day. Here they pray Morning Prayer at 6:20 a.m. and Evening Prayer around 5:30 p.m. Prayer as a community, whether the larger community in Ferdinand or a smaller community like here in Louisville, is so important to us! No wonder I love this community so much!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keeping Things in Perspective

Today one of the first graders asked if he could give me a kiss. I thought that was very sweet of him to ask. Shortly after that, the other first grade class came and a boy commented on my "old shoes." HA! I just laughed. I have been meaning to get new ones. Maybe his comment will give me the extra umph to go.