Monday, July 22, 2013

Daily Dying and Rising

In the vestibule of church, there is a statue depicting the death of St. Joseph.  This, I've been told, is a rare statue because the death of St. Joseph is not mentioned in the Bible.  It is, therefore, the artist's rendition of what may have happened.

Growing up and even more recently, death was never anything I ever wanted to think about.  Sure, it'd be great to get to Heaven, but why can't we bypass the whole death thing?  I want my friends and family to go to Heaven also, but having them actually die would be too depressing and painful.  There has to be a better way. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8). 

Over the years, my concept of death and my comfort level have changed.  Every living thing and person has to die in order to experience new life.  Knowing this, of course, doesn't make death any easier or erase the pain and suffering, but there is an awareness that through death and suffering, new life emerges. 

Talking about death isn't something to avoid or be afraid of.  Death happens in everyone's life all the time, whether it is a physical death of a loved one or some kind of change or transition.  We are constantly dying to old ways of thinking and being.  We are constantly, if we allow it, rising to new life. 

As I look at the statue depicting the death of St. Joseph, I am reminded of my daily dyings, not in a morbid way, but in a healthy, growthful way.  The daily dyings that give way to life. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I think the technology we have is fascinating.  Everything you ever needed or wanted to know can be found in an instant in the palm of your hand.  What I find troublesome, however, is the overabundant use of technology.  If we're not careful, it can run our lives and determine how we spend our day.  We can come to depend too much on technology rather than our own common sense, instincts and observations.  For example, I was with someone who cancelled an outdoor activity because her phone told her it was raining.  There wasn't a drop in sight. 

We're too cut off from nature because we are too busy texting or reading the latest posts and comments.  Do we notice our surroundings or are we too focused on the thing in our hand? 

There's also no privacy anymore or anything left untyped or unread.  Is it all necessary? 

I'm certainly not against technology, but I'm against how it's used and how obsessed or addicted people become. 

Sitting in silence, even for a few minutes, is a foreign concept because every minute is spent checking for updates.  How about sitting in silence and listening to what God is trying to say?  I wouldn't want a  friend who talked all the time and then said good-bye before I could get a word in edgewise.  God's the same way.  We don't want to be reading or saying prayers the whole time.  The prayers can be spontaneous, come from a book, phone, or iPad, but then put the device down and give God a chance to respond.  If we always have some kind of technological device in our hand, it would be difficult (at least for me) to hear what God is saying. 

Try 5 minutes a day of silence.  It may, at first, feel like an eternity, especially if you're used to always doing something.  After a few weeks, increase the time to 10 minutes a day.  Eventually, work up to 20.  If you relapse, go back to 5 and try again.  During this time, leave the phone off, forget about facebook, and don't worry about your next move in a game or any texts. 

Technology has changed the world we live in and so has silence.  Let's make sure we can still hear the silence amidst all the technology. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Real Nuns

A student once asked if I was a real nun.  Contrary to popular belief, not all "real nuns" fit the stereotypes you see on T.V. and in movies.  In fact, these stereotypes hindered me from looking into religious life.  How could I be in my 20s, looking into religious life when there were so many negative images of nuns?  Dealing with and overcoming these stereotypes was one of the first topics I would discuss with vocation directors from different communities.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing a habit, but you don't have to wear one to be considered a real nun.  I also don't know of any nuns who carry rulers, but that's certainly a stereotype that's taking a long time to dispel.

Now, I can't say that I keep up with the latest fads and fashions.  I can't name the top movies or songs.  I'm no good at identifying actors, actresses, or singers.  But, I wasn't good at any of that before I became a nun.  I'm sure, however, that there are nuns who know all that stuff and more.

The great thing about nuns is that once you get to know us, you'll realize that we're all different.  We all have different gifts and talents.  One of the best compliments I received from a teacher at school was, "You are shattering every stereotype I've ever had of nuns." 

The stereotype that I believe we all fit into is that we're all seeking God together.  We're getting to know ourselves better and growing closer to God and one another. 

Wearing a habit doesn't make anyone a real nun any more than wearing scrubs makes you a doctor.  I'll stay away from the hospitals where clothing is the main focus and the determining factor of who you are and what you can do. 

I loved when my student asked if I was a "real nun."  It meant I was opening his eyes to who nuns really are today.  I was helping to dispel some of the past stereotypes that still linger on today.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Elvis is Alive!

Recently Elvis Presley came to visit us as part of a birthday celebration for Srs. Anna Marie and Michelle W.  It was a lot of fun.  Since I've never seen any other Elvis impersonators, I can confidently say, "He's the best one I've seen."  In between songs, he told jokes and stories about his life as an Elvis impersonator.  He's traveled around the world and has opened for some big name celebrities.  He has also performed weddings on top of roller coasters and before bungee jumping.  It all sounded extremely entertaining. 

It was nice to have so many sisters and guests at the party.  Thanks to all who organized it.  It was a nice celebration for the birthday girls and also all of us.