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!