Monday, July 19, 2010

Meet Me in St. Louis

I had mentioned a couple posts ago that my summer travels recently took me back to a special place for me- St. Louis. I recently went there for work, but as many of you know, God took me there- shoot- almost 3 years ago to enter a religious community. As I sat on the plane for my first trip back in 2 years, I was still in awe that God called me to the city that my own sister (by blood, not convent ;) was living in for a very important year in both of our lives. I am still so grateful for that year and that gift of having my sister there during that time. Every time I question the whole journey, I can always point to the fact that we were both there in the same place at the same time and say- that was God. God did that for me.

So this trip back was good for me. I am in a good place right now. Sure, I still have plenty of questions for Jesus, but I think I was able to go back and present my best self to the people I encountered this most recent weekend and just enjoy the city that I got to know fairly well a couple years ago.

The Church is pretty alive there, which is one of the many reasons I loved being back. Being in a religious community during my original stay in the city, I got to know alot of parishioners at various parishes in the Archdiocese. I met a lot of priests and other diocesan ministers, and there are just a lot of good people doing good things in STL! So I enjoyed being hosted a parish this past trip for work.

When I was on NET, we stayed with 'host families' at nearly every parish we would do retreats at. So it is not unusual for me to enjoy a meal with a family I've just met through the parish where I am staying.

This trip to STL afforded me such an opportunity! I was speaking at parish for work, and had made arrangements to stay at the parish, but thought I would be on my own for meals. I was actually going to try and meet up with a friend of my sister's on Saturday night.

After I had attended and spoken at the Saturday vigil Mass, Msgr made sure I was all set for my stay and quickly added, 'oh, btw the way- we have a couple that will be taking you out to dinner.'

I was surprised, but not disappointed. It was going to be like my NET days re-lived.

So a sweet couple( probably my parents' age) came to pick me up at the rectory after the Vigil Mass and asked where I would like to go eat. Me, being polite but also NOT a picky eater in any way shape or form, responded: 'anywhere! I'll eat anything!'

Taking me a little off guard, the wife suggests the buffet at the 'new casino' in town. I was never taken to a casino by any host family on NET! However, these were my kind of people! Casino? Buffet? Um, yes please. These are moments where I love being Catholic. We know how to pray and have a good time ;)

The casino buffet lived up to all the 'hype'- it had great food! ;) And I had a really great conversation with the couple- the wife, whom, had recently become Catholic and the husband had became a deacon.

They told me this great story that I told them I would have to share:

The deacon (before he was a deacon) was attending a daily Mass at a more traditional parish. The tabernacle had a door on the front, but also a way in from the back ( apparently, there was a chapel or sacristy behind the altar so that there was additional 'access' to Jesus for the priest ;)

The priest saying Mass at this parish apparently spoke to Jesus each time He reposed the Sacrament, saying something like, "Good Night, Jesus!"

Well apparently (and perhaps you see where this is going), at this particular Mass, the priest went to repose the Sacrament and said his goodbyes to Jesus in the tabernacle, and there was a response back from the tabernacle!

"Good night, Jesus!"

"Good night!"

Um...can you imagine?

It was, of course, another priest who was opening the tabernacle from behind, but I can imagine it was a kind of hysterical (and maybe even slight creepy? ;) event.

After our trip(s) to the buffet and sharing stories such as this, we promptly played slot machines, grabbed a beer, and watched the Cardinals game.

Best. Host. Family. Ever ;)

Just another reason to love St. Louis!

I also did get a chance to have lunch with some of the sisters, one of whom i was pretty close with before I entered, and visit the place where I lived for a short time. It was good to have a type of closure and to return at just the right time in my life- I was ready and could see how I had grown in the past 2 years.

I also got to visit some of my favorite places that I would spend time at on my "days off" (we got one day a month to do whatever we wanted when I was living there)- my "Special Place" that I blogged about, the Art Museum which I loved (and saw this exhibit this time around. Yes, I know there are STATUES involved, but they were LITTLE. Ergo, tolerable for me and my phobia...but still admittedly a little creepy), and I did get to meet up with my sister's friend and have brunch in the Central West End- a place I frequented often for brunches on my 'free days'.

All and all a really lovely trip that I am grateful for! Have you ever experienced these kinds of moments where various people and places from your current and past life collide? I kind of love these moments. They affirm me of God's plan.

Where will my summer travels take you next, you ask? How kind ;) Well, I am of course, not slowing down! Helping with ANOTHER Workcamp in VA starting on FRIDAY! Going to a quick girls' getaway the weekend after we finish camp, then a WEDDING (of course! But sans bridesmaid dress, thank the good Lord!) and then ANOTHER trip for work! It will also be a trip where my worlds will collide a bit...

but we'll blog that bridge when it?

Thanks for reading! OH! And so that this blog is not completely void of SOMETHING prayerful/theological/reflective to think about...

I LOVED the readings this past Sunday: The Lord revealing His promise to Abraham that Sarah would conceive a child in the first reading and the Gospel of Mary and Martha. The first reading gives me a challenge and HOPE that God can and WILL do all things for those who serve Him in His time. And that we need not worry like Martha in the Gospel, but just throw ourselves at His feet like Mary.

Hope you all are having a blessed summer!


1 comment:

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

I MISS YOU! I know you're way busy, but I hope we can hook up soon. xoxo