Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Pre-Christmas

The 'rents were in town for a little Pre-Christmas since I now spend Christmas and Easter with the Sisters. Mom and Dad came in for Janet's birthday and her Nutcracker performances this weekend as well. I still can't believe how amazing it is that Janet and I both live in the same city. That seriously hasn't happened since high school. I think it made for a really nice weekend because when she was in rehearsal or performance, they could hang with me, and when I had commitments at the convent, they could hang with her in her.

They came in Thursday and Thursday night the three of us, minus Janet, went to see Wicked at the Fox Theater. It was such a great show! Really great script, story, and music. And of course, really great dancers (the reason we went is because one of the main monkeys is a friend of the family's :) But it was a late night out and though I told Sr. Carmen not to wait up, of course she did. This would only be the first of a few late nights, though, (unfortunately maybe for her) 'cause parents are keeping it real and keepin' real busy!

Friday and Saturday night Janet had performances. My parents got the sisters tickets for Saturday since Janet was dancing one of the main parts that night. Friday we had our December Faith and Film night here at the convent, so it worked out that I couldn't go Friday anyway. Friday morning I had class and prayer with the sisters, and in the afternoon I met Janet and the 'rents for lunch and then we went to the art museum.

Saturday I prayed and went to Mass with the Sisters, but Sr. Carmen covered my Book Center shift so I could hang with the 'rents. We went to Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, IL and then to the Anheiser-Busch plant! A little Mary and a little beer- the perfect balance! That's why I love being Catholic! :) It was snowing a lot, and we didn't get the whole tour of the beer plant, so I guess I'll just have to go back!

Saturday night was the Sister's big night out! But the weather was HORRIBLE and I had to put my Cleveland driving skills into action to get us there. Sister Carmen and the other sisters were saying rosaries in the other car :) We made it safely, by the grace of God, and everyone really enjoyed the performance.

Sunday I spent all day with my parents- we met a friend for brunch, went to the history museum (St. Louis has an extensive history museum by the way! They sure love their city around here!), Blueberry Hill for some beer, the mall, and then to Maggiano's for Janet's birthday dinner.

Monday morning the parents came to the convent for breakfast and that was the final event for the very full weekend!!!

It really was a pleasant weekend and a great Christmas before Christmas!!! And I can't wait for the actual day! Come Lord Jesus, Come! It's gonna be great, I just know it.

We decorated the convent last night as a community- put up some trees and wreaths, etc. Today Sr. Jerome and Emily have been baking....yeah, Christmas! It's only a week away!!!

We each picked an "advent angel" to buy a special gift for for Christmas. We can get everyone else something little, but something special for our "angel". I have a feeling I know who has me, and I can't wait to see what they get me!! It's gonna be fun!!!

I hope you all are preparing well and not getting too caught up in the man-made stress of a God given gift of a day! God bless your last week of Advent!



Sunday, December 9, 2007

Glimpses of our day: The sisters coming together for the Baby Jesus Party '07!

Prepare the Way...for Baby Jesus!

Okay, so since Advent has started, Jesus has pretty much told me, I need to completely abandon myself and I will be rewarded. We began Advent last week with a retreat, as we do at the beginning of each month, and again, it was much needed. But this month it was needed in a different way. Usually I look forward to a day to have Jesus all to myself, a day to take a long walk, a day to stay silent and not talk to anyone!

But this retreat was very others focused. Sister Carmen began our retreat with a scene from the Nativity Story- the Annunciation and the Visitation. It was just what I needed to focus on as I had started to become very 'me' focused, as we can all get during this holiday season, even though it's supposed to be the other way around. (ex-What's God going to do for ME this Advent?) Instead, in the movie, I saw Mary receive a message she may not have wanted to hear, was afraid to hear, and say 'yes' for the good of humanity. And then she went and shared it with her cousin, who in turn forgot about her own joy (for Elizabeth was with child too!) and they only focused and shared the joy of the other. Which, isn't that what Christmas is about? Yes, God comes to save US in the form of Jesus, but Jesus wants to rejoice and help each other get to heaven as well.

So my week has been trying to abandon my opinions and my desires to Jesus. If I get mad about something, I tell Him. And I've always done this, but I go through phases where I really have to envision myself letting go. On retreats with some of the teens when I was a YM, I would make them do something physical, to help them visualize giving everything over to God. Like making a cross, and placing it at the altar. Well, now I'm having to do that like every day in my head, but in a good way, with little, little things. Things that shouldn't bother me, but do and may not bother anyone else, I have to accept and then give to Jesus.

One way we are doing this as postulants is kind of what the elementary kids at my old parish would do, but it is helping me so much! We have a little crib set up for Baby Jesus in our study and each time we do a small offering, offer up something we didn't want to do, but did for Jesus, we put a piece of hay in. We joke that Baby Jesus is going to be feeling GOOD when He arrives! He will be sleeping in luxury! But I guess He will be happy with the offerings we made in reality,too.

So one way I can share that I had to make an offering this week- we all know how I feel about small children. They are great for other people, but not really for me :) I recognize they are gifts, but I don't choose to play or spend time with them. I'm much better with teens who I can talk to on a normal level. (And don't have grossness and snot dripping from their faces at all times....for the most part ;)

Well, something each of our Book Centers in the US do is put on a Birthday Party for Baby Jesus. And that was this Saturday! I told God and the sisters I'd do whatever they wanted me to do. And they were faithful! I mainly took care of the volunteers and customers (all adults :) with a little singing with hand motions when the kids started to get antsy waiting for pictures or clowns or whatever. Since I did the singing with hand motions thing with teens anyways, I was happy to oblige. And usually Sr. Carmen or Emily, my co-postulant would come help me, which I am grateful for.

It was overall a beautiful day of community and humanity. Everyone, even those of us who are not "kid people" see the hope and innoncence in kids. I have to admit when they would sing and mainly scream those songs about Jesus we were teaching them, there was a definate sharing of Jesus going on. I wondered, at first, why our community had this as one our major events in all the Book Centers. But after experiencing it, I see that this is what humanity should be. Sharing Jesus with one another. We were talking about Jesus and singing about Him, and thinking about Him all day. And everyone who came into the Center knew that is what was going on. And everyone (except for the occasional crying kid ;) was happy in that place!

For those of you, like me, who have never experienced a Baby Jesus party before, probably the main event is getting your picture taken with Baby Jesus. The sisters have costumes for adults and kids and many families come in to take their picture as their own version of the Nativity (Santa is nowhere to be found :)

We also have birthday cake for Jesus (which I loved calling to order, btw: "what do you want the cake to say? Happy Birthday... Jesus? Like J-e-s-u-s?" haha- we were evangelizing everywhere this week!)

And we have clowns, and crafts, and singing songs...and it brings so many people to shop in our Center, which we have really needed lately.

So it was a really beautiful and blessed day. So many things could have gone wrong, like with the cameras and such, but God gave us His Grace ALL DAY.

I'll leave you with my favorite part of the day:

At the end of the day, Alina- who had been putting together the Baby Jesus party the past few months and my co-postulant- and I were cleaning up and there were just a few kids left finishing the cake while their parents shopped. The other morning after a week of preparing and studying, Alina and I had kind of gone crazy and we started singing and dancing (we kind of make fun of how its a requirement, it seems, for the sisters to 'sing and dance'. We have concerts and they do shows with choreography and we like to pretend we are at the level already or will be one day...I can't explain it) Anyways, we had come up with this little Latin Lounge singer version of "Feliz Navidad". Alina is Cuban and from Miami so it is okay for her to poke fun at the hispanic community :) She has watched all those Latin soap and variety shows, and so our act was something similar to that. Really bad accents, funny hats, roaving guitarists, bells...you get the picture?

So we started doing our act for the other sisters and these last few customers. I played my guitar and she rang her little bell and danced around me.

Then she decided it would be a good idea to go up to the kid eating his cake on the floor, innocently watching the spectacle. She rang her bell in his face and I cannot describe the kid's reaction well enough. His eyes got huge, half excited, half startled, and he just threw his cake in the air. The cake in his hand went FLYING and we all burst out laughing.

Baby Jesus is funny. Baby Jesus is good to us. In the words of Will Ferrell...Dear Baby Jesus, we thank you!

Happy Second Sunday of Advent.



Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Advent!

Happy Advent! We took this pic to put in all our Christmas Cards this year. You will be most likely seeing it soon :) It's only fair since everyone else sends me their pics of their babies and pets and such (not that I'm complaining. I'm just realizing this is now the point we are at in our lives!). This is our version of the "family" Christmas postcard!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks for Christ the King!

Everyone wants to know, what's Thanksgiving like with the nuns?

Okay, so maybe not everyone wants to know, but some of you do, right?

Well, Thanksgiving with the nuns is very enjoyable, and maybe not too unlike your Thanksgivings. We eat alot, then eat some more, rest and watch TV, pray, and then eat again.

My sister Janet shared the experience with me which I was very grateful for. It brought a little bit of home to my new home! She also brought some of the "Polish" foods which are tradition for us, though we're pretty sure even though the Polish cookbook says it's Polish, cauliflower with cornflakes melted on top is kind of universal. Or maybe not. What do I know about cooking?

Though everyone had to contribute and make a dish and I was asked to make the stuffing. Not from scratch, mind you, because Jesus loves me and knows me! He and Sr. Agnes were merciful and let me make it from a box. And turned out very well, I must say!

So we began our morning with Mass and prayer as always. And it's nice because even thought Thanksgiving isn't technically a religious holiday (you can argue about that, though...why did the pilgrims come here after all? religious freedom!) being with the Sisters made it a religious feast and I felt that I was able to give thanks to God all day- as it should be!

And it made me think- every day should be Thanksgiving where we just give thanks to Him all day! I mean, Eucharist means "thanksgiving" in Greek and I receive the Eucharist each day in Mass. Every day can be Thanksgiving!

The Eucharistic table is our 'feast' and Jesus gives us many 'feasts' in His own way. With family, friends, His Word, His Church, His Sacraments.

Okay, enough preaching.

So we prayed, then we cooked and got ready. Janet came over a little before 1pm. We ate around 1ish. And just had a leisurely table conversation about Thanksgiving traditions. Janet and I noted that it is tradition in our family to have "Blue Nun" wine at the table (which I never liked, btw- too sweet!) and now we were sitting at a table of Blue Nuns!!!

The highlight of the day was Sr. Agnes gracing us with her "Turkey Song". A song she learned when she first came over from Italy and barely new English. It's pretty amazing that she remembers it! But once you hear it, you will know, 'how could you forget it?' We have it on video documented ;)

Janet hung out for a while and we called the fam on her cell and they passed the phone around to each person twice- once to talk to her and then to me. She left before our evening prayer and then after evening prayer we (too full from the afternoon) made some popcorn and played "Apples to Apples" as a community.

That game is hilarious anyways. But when you play with nuns its even funnier. And then when you play with 2 70+year old nuns with English as their second language- forget it. It's hysterical.

So I have much to be thankful for. You reading this blog just to name one! I got sick the day after Thanksgiving- too much fun, I tell you! So I am recovering from a bad cold that knocked me out for the weekend.

But today is the feast of Christ the King!!! And that means next Sunday starts ADVENT??? I can't wait! HA- and the irony of that IS that Advent is all about WAITING ;)

Today is a pretty great FEAST in itself, speaking of feasts. And one of the great things we've learned so far here in our formation classes is that we have a KING who uses His power to empower the powerless. Take the Gospel for today- it is Jesus on the Cross, dying for us. The soliders are taunting Him. The sign INRI above Him is meant to mock Him- but the Truth is, that is OUR KING! He, the suffering servant, is our KING. And that is the beauty of our faith. That our King makes Himself powerless to save us. As a good King should!!!

Thank You, Jesus!!!

God bless you all! Enjoy the FEAST! And let the waiting begin ;)


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Big Break

So this week is completely crazy, but I wanted to tell you about it! :)

Starting with Sunday, my free day: I met up with my former roomate from Leesburg's friend (did you follow that?) who lives in the Lou for brunch. She was sweet to treat me! As I am finding many do now since they realize I don't have an income and that is appreciated! There is an international film fest in town so we caught a very, very important and moving flick at the art museum. It was called: We are Together. It is about a South African family who are orphaned and suffering from the effects of AIDS but keep hope alive with their gift of song. So beautiful and inspiring. I recommend it!

Then I met my sister for dinner and we both met up with one of my friends from CUA for drinks. All in all another great free day!

Yesterday we had to give presentations as a project for one of our classes. We each had to gear our talk to a certain audience. Shocking- I chose teens as my audience :) I kind of felt bad because I had a slight advantage over the other girls :) but it wasn't a competition and we weren't graded. It was actually really interesting to see the different angles we took on the same topic- which was our congregation's devotion to Jesus as the Divine Master, Way, Truth, and Life (if you ever care to know more about that particular devotion, just ask me ;) I can tell you complete with movie clip and power point ;)

So that was yesterday. Today, I was on the radio!!!! Albeit Catholic AM radio, but it was a my big break on the airways. One of our Chicago sisters had told me she thought I had a voice nice for radio, so I think I may have a future :) I called to plug our 2 events this week- one which was tonight. Our Sacramental Theology teacher came to give a talk on the return of the Latin Mass at our Book Center. He is always very entertaining and informative and gives a straight forward approach which I appreciate. What was the result of the talk? Well, the Motu Proprio that the Pope gave pretty much just says the same thing as we had before- bishops and priest have the OPTION to do the 1962 Mass if they want at some Masses. Which was the case before with JP2, too, Benedict's just trying to encourage it a little more, it seems.

So that's today. TOMORROW and this weekend we are going to be exhibiting our wares at a Christian Brothers Conference in which our famed Media Studies Sister- Sr. Rose- will be speaking. I'm excited to meet her and hear what she has to say....since I want to BE her someday :)

Friday is our Faith and Film night, too! We are showing Spiderman II, and I was surprised in the message of the renunciation of will that is displayed in the film. I can relate to that theme!!!!

Thanks again for reading!!! you are in my prayers!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grapevine Article

The week that I entered, someone at St. Jude's back in Elyria asked me to write an article about my vocation for the parish newsletter, "The Grapevine". Here is the link to the newsletter:


(I didn't come up with the title- they wanted me to use that title for some reason. I had just turned off my cell phone)


Shout out, Kilner (now Sousa) and Stiggity!

Ah, the battle cry of the Media Studies major circa 1999-2003 and our friends who loved us:


After the week of Apostolic meetings, we've been assigned "Apostolic Projects" each having to do with a facet of our "apostolate". (Get it?) What's an apostolate? It's our mission. Like some nuns have teaching as their apostolate. Some have nursing. Ours is MEDIA!

Charism is another fun word people don't understand often about religious orders. So the apostolate is more the work we do. Charism is the way we pray or our spirituality. For example, our Charism involves lots of reading of the SCRIPTURE (the Gospels and St. Paul's letters in particular, obviously :) EUCHARIST because Alberione (our founder) received the mission from Eucharistic Adoration, and MARIAN because Alberione entrusted us to Mary, Queen of the Apostles. Does that make sense?

Anyways, so a lot has been going on apostolic-ly, so I haven't been able to write as much. We had an exhibit last Sunday. Exhibits are an important part of our apostolate. It's a way to take our mission outside the Book Center and more to the people directly. So it was a Pro Life conference for the diocese and we set up a table and met lots of lovely people from the diocese. And I was actually surprised at how many people we already knew! Our next exhibit coming up this month I'm super excited about because our Media Studies expert Sister- Sr. Rose- is coming in to give a talk at a Christian Brothers Conference. So we are going to set up an exhibit with some of her books and we also get to go to her sessions on Media Studies. Yeah!

In other apostolic news- I have been given the apostolate of organizing our Faith and Film nights (all of us postulants and Sr. Carmen have a say in it and collaborate, but I just keep up with the details). I'm soooo happy to do this! I research the possible movies we might show and help to promote the event.

Our Faith and Film night, by the way, is something some of our Book Centers do. Once a month, we show a movie at our center and invite the public and then we lead a discussion afterwards and complete the night with prayer. Last month we watched "Hotel Rwanda" which is such a powerful movie. Sadly, we only had 3 people come, but hey- my experience with youth ministry has taught me not to be discouraged :) It's quality, not quantity :)

But we are trying to recruit a little more quantity, so I've also been asked to help our superior with promotions, advertising, and marketing, which I also feel at home with. Since we have NO budget practically for advertising (we do some radio spots on local radio and have some ads in local Catholic papers, parish bulletins- that consumes most of our budget) we have to do a lot more FREE stuff. So my latest task is to make some personal contacts via email, campus visits, church visits, and let people know one-on-one about our center and events since all those means are FREE :)

I really love to talk about our mission. There are so many cool things we are trying to do here. Not only do we have our Book Center (book store) our St. Louis community hosts monthly lectures with guest speakers on various topics open to the public, the Faith and Film nights, and we have a women's book club that read a book each month. And in December, we have a Baby Jesus Birthday Party :)

So I'm promoting these things to you all, even though you are most likely not in St. Louis or going to be anytime soon. But if you know of anyone here, now you can spread the word! :)

Another cool thing that happened this week: we went to see Leonardo Defilippis in his play about Maximilian Kolbe. You hardcore Catholics will know him and his company, Saint Luke Productions. They produced the movie Therese that came out a couple years ago. Anyways, he came into town to do the play for Catholic schools in the diocese and we went to one of the shows. Then he came into our Book Center today so we got to meet him and chat with him. I got my picture taken with him :) I don't have the digital copy, though, so I can't post it ;( But he stayed for like an hour 'cause he really understands our mission of evangelizing through the arts and media, obviously. We were trying to convince him to do a play on our dear Blessed James Alberione next :)

Oh! And we got to go to an Extreme Life Teen event last week (XLT) and that was sooo nice. It felt like "home", but made me sad 'cause my teens weren't there. I ran around promoting our next film night, though. We are showing Spiderman II, so that is pretty kid friendly. We'll see if some show up!

So it's Halloween, huh? It doesn't feel like it, but rumor has it Sr. Caritas is gonna dress up tonight. She's one crazy 71 yr. old Italian/French Canadian. But I love her. She told me she usually dresses up as Gandhi because "all you need is a sheet". Hmmm...we shall see what tonight entails.

Don't forget to honor the SAINTS with MASS tomorrow :) Holy men and women, PRAY FOR US!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

blogs and more blogs

Hi, friends! Sorry it's been a while- let me update you!

First of all, the postulants have started their new official blog:


you can check that out, though my blog here will probably be more detailed as the other will need to be appropriate for the Daughters' website :)

us postulants are also featured on our fellow sister from Chicago's blog:


I should explain the title-it's a play on the Sister's name- Sr. Helena Burns but the other conotation certainly applies!

Sr. Helena was actually just here in St. Louis visiting us! Sr. Helena and Sr. Thecla came from Chicago for a training session that Sr. Margaret Charles from Boston came down to lead. It was kind of like a sales rep training to train us for potential future promotion of our Center or future callings within the apostolate.

I am always so impressed with how the sisters love Jesus SO much and how He is first and foremost, but then run meetings like business people (though our meeting was in our living room with many coffee breaks in between :)

So that's been this week, meetings, meetings, class, formation, meetings....I actually kind of miss working in the Book Center!!

In Strukely news, I should brag a little about my family. Terry (dad) is currently pursuing his dream of being a folk music singer and has made an appearance on the Elyria coffeehouse circuit. Not kidding. Look out- this is how stars are made. So what if he's gonna be 57 next month? And Jeannette (mom) is making the business cards so you can book him at an open mic near you. He may have to open for my 3 cousins Emily, Hannah, and Olivia (ages 9,7, and 5) who are already doing the late night bar circuit. You think I'm joking?

Mom and Dad are also now OFFICIAL Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dossients and can take you on a tour officially. They had to write papers and take classes but hey, when you are talking about John Lennon and Bob Dylan, you can't mess around. Mom and Dad are also going to Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder next month....how is it that their 26 year old daughter is removing herself from the culture and her 56 year old parents get more into it?? God is hilarious.

FREE SUNDAY on Sunday!!! Janet has a performance/benefit, so since she came to mine, I'm gonna go to hers :) And then we shall relax in non-nylon attire ;) Since we both wear nylons everyday now!

Hope that blog was worth the wait- love you and miss you all! Especially missing the teens at St. John's lately :( All the talk of mission and ministry this week with training makes me want to get back out there!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Benefit Dinner

Our Benefit Dinner to help support our Mission was held last night here in St. Louis. Not every community has such an event to raise money, but our community here in St. Louis is blessed to have a Board and enough patron support to host such an event. So we shmoozed and wined and dined...being a sister isn't a bad gig! :) People want to talk to you and it's a great way to evangelize the Word and our mission.
We honored the Bishop last night and a doctor and his wife for their work and advocacy against embryonic stem cell research. My sister Janet was able to come because we had some extra spots at some tables last minute. So needless to say, it was a very blessed event! And a big night for our community!!
Pictured above: Alina, Emily, and I (the postulants!), my sister Janet and I, me and the Sisters at the head table, and then the Bish.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keeping it Real...Funny

So, this is how we amuse ourselves in the convent ;) We get really tired after a long day in the Book Center, a day of study, of chores, of prayer, of community...and then we play stupid tricks on the other sisters. Our superiors, mind you ;)
Our formator, actually, was away this past week. And while the formator is away, the postulants will play ;)
It all started after our lectio prayer one night. We were discussing how in chapel we have a Bible and we like to change the pages from time to time to display different passages. I mentioned that the Bible that we have at the top of the staircase hasn't changed since we entered. Both Alina and Emily were like, "what Bible? I never noticed what passage? etc..."
We were pretty convinced our older sisters and superior never noticed either. We were so convinced that we thought it would be funny to put a dictionary where the bible normally is at the top of the stairs and see how long it took for someone to notice.
We placed our bets. I was betting no one would notice, and if anyone did, it would be our superior. Some said one of the older sisters....
We waited a whole 24 hours in suspense with no comment about the Dictionary. My favorite moments of the day were when I would encounter a sister at the top of the stairs, right in front of the dictionary, with no response or reaction.
That is because, we found, our dear sisters (well, one of them at least) likes to play and is a little sneaky herself.
The next day, without any words, our dictionary was gone. I thought we should fess up, in fear that the sisters didn't think it was funny, but rather disrespectful and that's why they weren't commenting. Alina knew better though...she said, "oh no, they are playing with us.."
And, so...we retaliated. Hence the ransom note (pic. 3)
The note sat on the dictionary for another 24 hours or so. Even my friend who had come by the house wondered, "what's with the stickers on the Bible?" Clearly, our note was seen, the sisters were choosing, however, to remain sneaky and silent in their response.
Finally, the next morning after Mass, our dictionary sat at our breakfast table. Still no words had been uttered. This had become quite a game!
Every morning, we tell a joke from a list that a Sister in Boston sends us. She says, "a joke a day keeps the devil away!" and so we were sharing that breakfast as usual. The joke of the day was,
"When does Thursday come before Wednesday?"
The answer?
In the dictionary.
We watched for reactions. I thought I saw Sr. Jerome make an eye, a smirk....
Later on that day it came out that she had indeed been playing along and had switched the dictionary.
Anyways, that was practical joke #1...many to follow ;) I just thought I would share our joy and amusement in the community :) Nuns can have fun ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Faithfulness, Faithfulness...

Is what God has shown to me!!!

Last week obviously started well since my sister and cousin were so generous to me with their surprise trip. But it was almost bittersweet because then I think it made me miss the "outside" a little. Just a little.

I also deal daily with the little quirks and demons that wrestle inside of me. Its sooo true that when we are doing well that's when we have to be on our guard because the devil doesn't like it!

I was so content the past couple weeks and sooo blessed with joy and fun, this week was a little more difficult because I think the devil was like, "oh yeah? really? you think these people are fun? You think this life is fun?" It still didn't make me question anything, but it did bring down my joyful mood just a little. And I started to get a little lonely for friends from home and people who know me.

But God knows what we need and what we can handle! Literally, as I was praying Friday to the Lord to help me deal with the little bits of loneliness or selfishness, my friend from CUA who is studying at the Jesuit seminary here in STL called me. In the middle of prayer! The sisters had some extra tickets to a G.K. Chesterton play (which ended up being pretty good) and my friend and I took the tickets. It was so nice to be out and just with someone who knew me in a "former life" ;)

And I had also recently spoken with our vocations director- she made her monthly phone call to check up on us postulants :) I shared with her that I'd been frustrated with myself in the Book Center because I know NOTHING of retail and am not exactly the best with customer service. I prefer to talk to people and "minister" and hear their stories. So she [the vocations director] said she'd pray for that for me. And wouldn't you know that Saturday morning I didn't sit down once because people kept talking to me! I'd run to show them something or look for a book, and then they'd just start talking to me about the Church or about Art, or about something I actually KNEW how to talk about! Since I don't know much about the authors or items we carry, or stuff we have in stock yet, i feel dumb most of the time people talk to me. But God is FAITHFUL. And that's why I wanted to blog about His faithfulness!

Today I went for a walk in a park with Sr. Agnes and am going to see Shrek 3 (yeah for $1 movies!) with Alina and Emily. And then we have ADORATION! Yeah!!!! A perfect day, if you ask me! God is good! All the time!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Praise the Lord for Free Day!

So as posted, yesterday was my "free day". Yes, i am entitled to only one "free day" a month, but compared to my time on NET, this is a luxury ;) Our "days of no obligation" on the road were never such. There was always someone to oblige to. The Sisters, on the other hand, really don't care if they see me 'til 8pm. And even then I can call to come back later.

Anyways, so I thought my day was going to entail going to Six Flags with my sister Janet. I totally and fully believed this. I thought this was all the day had in store, with the possibility of going to dinner with the postulants afterwards. I even invited my other friends and sisters to the park! And I had called/emailed with Janet all about the day in detail.

So I was truly, truly suprised when I see my sister and my COUSIN Lauren talking to Sr. Caritas and Emily and Alina when I step outside Sunday morning! My cousin had come down for the weekend since she had 10 days off of work! I was so suprised, but this was only the beginning since I now had no idea what the day had in store.

As soon as I get in the car and close the door, they say to me, "um, yeah. We're not really going to Six Flags." They began to allude to being 21 and having to have id as well as "live entertainment". I started to get a little nervous. While I had to appreciate them wanting to allow me to have some "fun" on my free day, the Lord had already proven to me that I could have fun in little ways and not have to have such requirements for fun. So I would've been content with whatever they had in store, but they did have my best interest in mind. Though I was beginning to question as we continued to drive without knowing where we were going!

But as we pulled further and further away from civilization, it began to come together for me. "Are we going winetasting?" I said and began to clap my hands as this is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. They were a little discouraged that I had figured them out, but we all agreed that this was the best way to spend the free day.

While I will still say that VA has the better scenery, MO sported some nice views and I will give MO a nod for having FREE tastings. We made friends with most of our servers that day at 3 different wineries, but I think our favorite was Montelle because they gave us 20 wines to taste for free (though they do charge you an extra $3.00 to drink outside on their terrace, which I suppose is how they get you).

So we spent the day chatting and drinking and taking in the MO countryside. Then it was time for dinner. We called the other postulants up as promised to meet us. I only wish the Mexican food we devoured were as tasty as the wine- it was not. And the day ended with a slightly sour note because after consuming wine since 11am and such less than par food, that's what my stomach became, sadly.

But I was glad to share my two worlds with two of my favorite people- Janet and Lauren. And I am grateful for the thought they put into planning that day! And I'm grateful to the Lord for giving me such beautiful people to spend the days with, and for Him showing me there are many ways to enjoy His creations :)

Thanks again for reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is how we do it

Finally I can sport a funnier title for a funnier blog.

The idea that nuns/sisters cannot have "fun" is oh so wrong. This has been a crazy, great week with lots of laughs!

It's cool because we may not do exciting things (our big nights out this week were going to the local church picnic) but we have fun with what we do. Even working the Book Center provides us lots of laughs.

I think the highlight of this week was the 2nd night at the Church picnic, last night. Sr. Jerome, Alina, Emily, and myself went to eat some dinner and check out the games and prizes. They had those crazy themed baskets which I know well from fundraising for Workcamp at St. John's. And you could buy tickets and put your name in for which basket you wanted the most.

I had to take a moment and say "this is my life" when Sr. Jerome came back and said she had put some money in for the tupperware basket. Sigh. But then she said, "and also the Starbucks basket right next to it".

Now, I will say again, it is the little joys in life. And I thought, wouldn't it be funny if the nuns won a basket? So I said a little prayer (outloud to the table), "Jesus, if it be in Your Will for us to win the Starbucks, let it be done." Quite, a fiat, no? ;)

So we ate and walked and shmoozed with parishoners and then the time came for the DJ and announcing of the basket winners.

I NEVER win anything. I'm like the worst luck in the world. But that night, I had a feeling. I had a feeling that when Father drew a name, I could almost hear him saying "Daughters of St. Paul".

The tupperware basket- nope. Gift card basket- nada. Then, "and the Starbucks basket goes to...

The Daughters of St. Paul!"

We 3 postulants just screamed and clapped. The whole picnic turned to look at us. What a sight we must've been. But that's not the best part....

Sr Jerome (who we've unofficially named J-Ro, we're still deciding whether or not it's okay to call her that officially ;) says, "well, go claim it!" to me. And I must do as I'm told...

I'm NOT lying. As soon as I walk up to claim the prize the DJ starts playing...

Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake.

Jesus loves me. And I know because these are the signs He gives me.

What are the odds? Winning a Starbucks basket full of COFFEE AND hearing Justin at a CHURCH picnic?!?

Okay, so my life's not that exciting. But the Lord is good to me :)

Going to Six Flags today with my sister Janet. Can't wait to wear JEANS and be among the people! ;)


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Week 3

One day I'll come up with new titles for my blogs. Right now, I think it's appropriate to address my life in "baby stages" since I do feel, in many ways, that I'm starting all over again :) At one point, at like week 56 or 156 (God willing!) the blog might get a little ridiculous. And you might stop reading ;) So hopefully soon I'll be inspired with more creative titles.

What to tell you this week? This was an exciting week in some ways. The postulants who are now moving up to novitiate came back from their vacations (they were on vacation when we entered) and we got to spend some time with them as they packed up to move to Boston to begin their novitiate. It was nice to have some other persons in the house :) And it was great to spend time in prayer with them.

Having them around did make our schedule a little hectic, as Sr. Carmen had to minister to all 6 of us! So we didn't have a "normal" schedule this week.

We visited our Lady of the Snow Shrine on Labor Day which was beautiful. It is a really great place to pray with many different devotions to our Lady and Christ displayed in art and places of prayer. It's run by Oblates of...something of Mary....I forget! But they seem really cool. They have all kinds of missions, it seems. They even had a cultural festival this weekend, which we decided to go back for this past Sat. I'm glad we did! There were many tables set up and with Sr. Carmen's family being from El Salvador, Alina's family from Cuba, and mine from Poland- our 'second generation'-al beings were happy to see our cultures represented and we feel a fondness for cultures in general.

Now things seem to be falling (no pun intended, though today is a beautiful fall day and I thank the Lord for fall!!! It just is the perfect balance of sun and cool- like we are able to actually enjoy the sun's rays. I love balance ;) into more of a schedule. We've had more classes which a lot of people seem to ask about, so let me now give you a taste of some things we've been discussing and will learn about:

We've read some articles on our "ontological being" to help us learn more about who we are in Christ, who He's called us to be uniquely. This is in hopes of us better discerning the passions and desires He's placed in our hearts. Who He's called us to be. It's been uber-helpful.

We've also started to learn more about the Pauline Family- the orders Blessed James Alberione started- and our founder. We've looked at some of his writings on meditation and forms of prayer for Daughters of St. Paul.

And yesterday we started to learn more about the apostolate, which is mainly lived out in our Book Centers. Here is some interesting info about Alberione's vision for the Daughters and our Centers:

The centers are not stores. They are places of mission. They are meant to be a place of service- to those faithful to the Church and those seeking Christ. We don't see the patrons as customers but as cooperators in our mission. They serve us just as much as we might try to serve them.

The aim is not profit, but evangelization and bringing each other closer to Christ. We offer a type of Eucharist to each other because we are offering Christ to each other and we are feeding off of Christ in His Word that we distribute.

It's really all very beautiful and every time I'm in class (which, i should say are very informal. It's just the 4 of us- Emily, Alina, Sr. Carmen, and i sitting around a table) I do get excited about the mission and Alberione's vision. It re-affirms that this is a good fit and perhaps where Christ wants me to use my gifts.

So that's class right now. Eventually we are taking formal classes at Paul VI Institute- a think a branch of the seminary open to women and lay people- on Sacraments and Liturgy.

Thank you for reading and for your prayers! I will continue to update you. Thank you for your interest!!! Know that Jesus is ALIVE in His Church, Word, and Eucharist and is doing great things in all of us!!!


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Week 2

So many people have been asking for an update and now I'm able to give more of an idea of what our daily life is like as a postulant in St. Louis:

6am- wake up, shower, get coffee (if needed, as we know it is for me ;)
7am- Silent Gospel Meditation (we do Lectio Divina- a common Scripture practice- the night before so we take from our Lectio meditation and take it to Jesus in prayer the next day)
7:30am- Morning Prayer with the community
8:00am- Mass
8:45- breakfast, clean up, cleaning
10am- Class
11am- Holy Hour or Study Time (depending on day)
12pm- Lunch
12:30-3pm- Free time, study time, prayer time, or work in Book Center (depending on day)
3pm- Class
4pm- more free/study time, Prepare Dinner (if it is your night, which it was for me Wed! but that's another blog in itself...)
6pm- Evening Prayer with Community
6:30- Dinner
7pm- Clean up, Dishes, Water plants, garden
7:45pm- Recreation Time with postulants
8:30pm- Lectio Divina with community/postulants
9pm- done for day
10pm- bed

So as you can see, lots of free time so far! That may change as we get in the Book Center more or as we get more homework for our classes!

There have also been days we have done outings. Usually Sunday is our day for community outings. Last Sunday, we went to a local "farm" which is more like a zoo. It was a beautiful day and was really strange because this zoo is in the middle of the suburbs! An elephant in the middle of a neighborhood! Seriously! But it was a really nice farm- "Grant's Farm". If any of you come to visit, we'll have to make a trip!

We also went to a special Mass with the Archbishop for the Feast of St. Louis last weekend. The "new" cathedral I'd seen before when I visited Janet, but it's a beautiful cathedral. Reminds me lots of the Shrine at CUA. And it was good to see many from the community of St. Louis who we will serve!

This past Thursday, our confessor and also the director of formation at the diocesan seminary, took us on a tour of the new and old seminaries here that the diocese uses. Again, it was nice to meet some of the priests we will work with. Some will eventually come and teach classes for us. Right now we just take class with Sr. Carmen to learn more about our community life and founder. Eventually we'll take more theology and catechism.

I was particularly struck with the old seminary which they don't use anymore, sadly, but is open to come look at. It has beautiful stained glass windows that depict on the right side- Old Testament prefigurements of the priesthood (the Passover, Melchezidek (sp?), Moses, etc.) and New Testament images on the left (Last Supper, Baptism in the Jordan...)

This diocese is all gearing up for the return of the 1962 Mass, however. Not sure how I'm feeling about it, yet, but this old chapel with the stained glass also had 12 side altars from when they used to say the old rite, each depicting one of the 12 apostles, which I thought was cool.

At the new seminary, Fr. showed us a chapel where the students will begin to learn the Latin Mass. And one of the seminarians came into our Book Center yesterday, actually, to look for the new Sacramentary (we don't carry it yet ;) I know I'm not quite ready for this return....

But Jesus can work through anything! And that is what I am learning most of all. To be patient and docile to HIS Will and Spirit. For He knows ALL and loves us very much :)

Thanks for reading and for your prayers!


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Postulancy- Day 2!

Having been officially a postulant for the Daughters of St. Paul for one day now, I am not an expert, but I can offer you a little more insight into what my life is like here:

2 other young women entered with me yesterday and the three of us will be postulants and classmates together. While we don't know each other well yet, my first impressions exceeded all expections. These women are awesome and God is soooooo faithful! He knows what we need.

Alina is 23 and from Miami, FL. She loves to play the guitar, COFFEE, and likes to go dancing with her friends! She and I have already bonded over morning coffee and our lack of cooking experience (praise Jesus!)

Emily is 20 (almost 21- she has agreed to let us take her for her first drink ;) and is the oldest of 12!!! She has the best laugh that is contagious and laughs often! She also plays PIANO and can pick up harmonies really easily. We've already got our first song down in three part harmony between the three of us. Did I mention God is good???

Yesterday, I spent the day with Janet and my parents before saying our "good-byes", though really, these sisters are so flexible we all know I'll be seeing Janet pretty regularly and mom and dad have planned to take us all to the Nutcracker practically already. All the sisters are excited and apparently Emily's sister (the 2nd eldest) is also pursuing a professional dance career! The coincidences no longer surprise me because they are clearly consolations from God. Anyways, my family and I saw "Hairspray" which was really, really cute and perhaps the LEAST vulgar movie I've seen in a while. I would recommend it.

As far as keeping in contact, there is a number here for the postulants that has a voice mailbox for us, which I will email to you all soon. Please continue to email as I will be keeping my hotmail and facebook accounts, even Myspace.

And book your tickets for St. Louis soon! If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask! I love to talk about this order and the Sisters :)

Thank you for your prayers.....I felt them yesterday!!!

We are united in Mary until next time...


Monday, August 20, 2007

Surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses"

The car is packed, I'm ready to go!

My fam and I are leaving early tomorrow morning to drive 9 hrs or so to St. Louis. We will be having dinner with the sisters tomorrow night!

Yesterday, I was amazed (though God doesn't ever totally surprise me anymore. I know He is going to be giving me consolations like He always does in His perfect way ;) that the second reading was indeed MY verse. The verse I used for this blog and the one that's guided me pretty much since the end of high school.

Hebrews 12:1-3

I love it because it reminds me in the first line that I am not alone. I am surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses". This line often is used to allude to the saints that watch over us in heaven, but I also believe many of you have winessed to me in my life. I also love the verse because it reminds me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, though the road will not always be easy. The theme for my faith journey has always been perseverance and hence the reason I feel this is MY verse!

So I was excited to get that little consolation yesterday at Mass. And today's Gospel reading was the young man discouraged to be told to leave behind his possessions. I have a feeling I will be sympathizing with that young man in a day or too as reality sets in.

Right now though I am good to go, as I was surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses" who encouraged me yesterday and this past week. My friend Laura from NET came up from southern Ohio and we went to Cedar Point!!! We road the NEW ride, the Maverick, and the Dragster 2 times! As well as all the other favorites. It was a really cool day, not too long of lines, and blessed with some holy conversation :)

Friday night my high school friends threw a bbq for me complete with Guitar Hero. I was glad to be introduced to this before I entered, though now I may see if I can get one sent to the convent. I think it would be great for our recreational time! ha!

And yesterday, my parents threw an open house party for all my extended family and relatives. People I hadn't seen in years came out and everyone, for the most part, offered their support.

And lastly, today, I met with the Bishop of Cleveland, Bishop Lennon, who used to be in Boston and was the Daughters' chaplain for 10 years. So not only is he my bishop here in Cleveland, but he has a connection with the Daughters! God is so good! And the Bishop is great. So down to earth and really easy to talk to. We talked for about a half an hour about the Daughters and how great they are, as well as a little about baseball. He remains a Red Sox fan, though he is a fan of Jacobs Field!

So I am grateful for my "cloud of witnesses" this week. I cannot wait for Wed. All of this anticipation and talking about going....I'm ready to go!

So go I shall! Hope to be in touch soon. In the meantime we are united in prayer....


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting Started

Hi, friends! Hopefully this blog will be the new home of many wonderful insights, memories, and stories for all of us to share and give glory to God. I will humbly try to post any tidbits or tales that I have in order to keep you updated on my new life living with the Daughters of St. Paul in St. Louis. Feel free to comment and post yourself! This is a group effort. And as always, it is in Him that we are united and share His Goodness and glory!

So my parents came and picked me up in VA on Sat. Aug 11. We packed the truck and cars in record time (no, I did not have enough stuff to fill all three vehicles. Please- I'm trying to detach! The previous week was devoted to donating my wares! But I ended up taking my car back to Ohio to sell back to the dealer, etc., etc...and so we each ended up driving a vehicle back to Ohio). I am currently chilling in Elyria still giving much time to organizing, sorting, and getting rid of clutter. The physical clutter has been decreased to a minimum, but the clutter in my mind still currently exists. I'm hoping to make a retreat day sometime this week, perhaps on the Feast of the Assumption. Our Lady always hooks me up and helps me out. I'm sure she can handle taking some prayers up with Her as we honor Her assumption into heaven.

Until then, I sort through the stuff I've acquired over the years and hope to spend time relaxing with people I love. So far I've achieved this by seeing my partner in crime, Cathy, and favorite former co-choir cohort, Christina. I went to an Indians game today too. They played the Yankees and I reflected on how my last memory of a Yankees game was getting kicked out of Yankee stadium with CUA's Senior Class. Needless to say, this match-up was much more mild. We're chill here in Ohio.

So that's it for now! I hope to hear from you all and I hope this serves as a good tool for all of us keeping in touch! I still have my MySpace account right now, but I'm debating getting rid of it. One social networking tool should be enough for the convent and right now it's all about Facebook :)

See you online!