What Must I Do? Our natural gifts lead to vocation

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

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This exact question is asked of Jesus two times in the gospels, by two different people, and he gives them different answers.

Continue reading “What Must I Do? Our natural gifts lead to vocation”

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Love is Alive…but are we?

holy-spirit-dove-drawing-The_Holy_Spirit_by_HammerMarioI’m experiencing post-Africa let down all over again.  Having come home right before Easter, for the past few weeks we’ve been singing joyful “Alleliua” songs like this one:

Love is Alive

Doesn’t that make you want to dance and lift your hands in praise? Okay, maybe it’s just me…

But seriously, when twenty women sing this song in a more lively fashion than a 200 person congregation, there is a serious problem.

The problem isn’t that I’m used to being surrounded by people who are madly in love with Jesus and are not afraid to show it!  Honestly the average parishioner usually doesn’t even look like they want to be at Mass.  No wonder we’re attracting so many people.

Sarcasm aside (with maybe a touch of sass), what does our Church need?  The same thing  we’ve always needed, since Jesus ascended to the Father: the Holy Spirit.  More specifically we need a new Pentecost.

A Beautiful Waste

“What is he?” murmurs one gray shadow of my forefathers to another.  “A writer of storybooks! What kind of a business in life, – what mode of glorifying God, or being serviceable to mankind in his day and generation, – may that be? Why, the degenerate fellow might as well have been a fiddler!”

-The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ironically, I was introduced to the show “Call the Midwife” while in the convent.  Now that I have some time on my hands I’ve watching some more of the episodes.  I’ve noticed that some of the characters struggle with something that I do as well (and I suspect most of you): wanting to be useful.  Through aging or illness, they are afraid of not being able to do what they used to, and therefore being of less value.

Over the past few years this desire has been purified but it is still a nagging thought: am I doing something worthwhile?  Will I live up to these ridiculous expectations I have set for myself?

I came face to face with this need to be “useful” in religious life – which was perhaps the Lord’s plan all along.  What good could it do the world to do laundry, sell Altar Bread and pray – oh prayer is what always seems like the most useless thing.  What good does prayer do?

But religious are not the first and are certainly far from being the last to be accused of wasting their lives.

Remember this story?

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Now when Jesus was at  Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.  And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.”

When I was in college I switched my major from English to Social Work, because I thought I should do something more “practical” to help people.  Partially through physical illness, I was stripped of my desire to be “useful” in the convent and as the Lord uncovered my eyes to see my own beauty, the desire to write re-awoke in me like a living fire.  Poverty fosters creativity and I’ve done my best writing in the past four years, showing me what I am capable of.

So now God is calling me to waste my life in a different way and I have a feeling I won’t be leaving poverty behind!

 

I’m Back!

My head is cold.  I have an irresistible urge to wear outrageous color combinations.

I gave up being a nun for Lent.  More accurately, God led me into the desert and to follow His crazy plans!  St. Faustina called Jesus “the divine madman” and now I know why!  He will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing, to recreate us in His image, to bring about His plan for our lives, which will ultimately bring us life to the full and blissful union with Him in heaven.  The Divine Bridegroom will stop at nothing to win His Bride and be united with her forever.

For the past three years I have been in formation with the TOR Sisters, as most of you know.  God made it clear that He is calling me elsewhere, so I came back home recently.  I’ll write more about that experience and my time there as I process it.  I’m not sure if anyone even still reads this blog, but if you do hello again!  Thanks for sticking with me.

P.S.  Have pen, will write!  I am looking for a job and any writing opportunities.

Thank you St. Joseph!

My dear friends and family,

I have some sad news to share with you.  This probably really will be my last post (unless the Holy Spirit has other plans!), because…

I AM DEBT FREE!!!!

AKA I can be a sister!!!!!!

Last Friday, I found out that I have been awarded the St. Joseph grant by Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations.  I am still in shock and awe at the great work the Lord has done.

This wonderful organization will now be paying off my student loans and those of everyone else who they are helping.  I ask that you prayerfully consider supporting their mission.

Here is a letter from their website about this years awards and why they need your help more than ever:

We have made a leap of faith.

Two unexpected occurrences have led to a very surprising event for the Fund for Vocations. First, by the time the application period had closed this year we had only 23 applications for grants. Normally, the count is in the 40s. We have no idea why there were so few, but we expect it is just happenstance and we will see a return to normal numbers next year, particularly since we are seeing our usual level of inquiries for early in the year.

Second, our donors’ generosity has greatly exceeded our expectations and the Fund ended 2013 in the fairly good financial condition.

Those two occurrences led the Fund’s board of directors to make a great leap of faith and authorize the funding of grants to all our applicants this year! This act equates to a commitment to raise an additional $75,000 each year for more than a decade.

That is a 35% increase in our commitment to help men and women proceed with the life to which God has called them. As we can only attribute our good financial position to your generous response to God’s call to you, we can do no less. Please pray for us and continue to help us in this work to build up the Church.

I cannot thank you all enough for supporting my vocation and know that all of my benefactors are in my prayers.  Please continue to pray for me especially during this time of initial formation!

I would love to receive letters and hear from you.  My address is 369 Little Church Road, Toronto, OH 43964.  If you’re in the area please don’t hesitate to ask about visiting!

May God Bless you all and may you remain in His most Sacred Heart!

P.S. Entrust St. Joseph with all your needs – he gets things done!

Christians Never Say Goodbye!

I told you that my last post wasn’t goodbye!  I’m writing this quick update while on my home visit because I really need your help.

These last five months have been amazing, challenging, and just all around a blast!  When St. Francis started attracting followers he reportedly said, “…and the Lord gave me brothers.”  Now I can truly say, “…and the Lord has given me sisters!”  The TOR community has quickly become my family and I love them dearly.

By the grace of God and the trust of my superiors, I was allowed to enter with some remaining debt.  However, it does need to be paid off before I enter postulancy in August 2014.  So many of you have been incredibly generous and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  However, there is still about $23,000 that needs to be paid off.

I have applied for a grant from Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations but they do not make their decisions until March 15th.  Please pray extra hard until then!  My chances for receiving the grant will increase if I can decrease my debt before then, so anything will help!

Donations can be made through this website: http://www.youcaring.com/other/form-a-franciscan-sister/85925

Or by mail:  369 Little Church Road   Toronto, OH 43964

Please make checks out to Franciscan Sisters, TOR

We visit a nursing home weekly and bring communion to the Catholic residents. It has been a very stretching experience!

Check out the Youcaring site for continuing updates!

I’ll Be Seeing You

I hate saying goodbye, therefore this is not a goodbye post.  Anyway, C.S. Lewis is on my side.

“Christians NEVER say goodbye!”

This isn’t even a see you later post.  Why is that?  Because of this big, beautiful thing we are part of called the Body of Christ.

I’m not leaving you at all! We’ll be connected, closely and intimately, through the Eucharist.  We receive the Body of Christ.  This means Christ’s personal body, but also, the mystical body of Christ.  We receive each other.  I’ll let Danielle Rose explain(get your box of tissues!):

Over the past week, I’ve been struggling to understand the separation I’ll be entering into.  For religious life entails a certain separation from the world.  Yet, I will enter deeper into the heart of the Church.  My brain can’t handle the paradoxes!  So I’ve been fighting the instinct to “stay in touch” with old friends and people who were never really friends to begin with (again, Lewis backs me up on this).  In short, I am afraid of disappearing.  All our lives, we are conditioned to be “connected” with people in certain ways – mostly through technology.  Without the use of technology, will I no longer be connected to people?  I think everyone can see the falsity of this line of thinking.

As I’ve said before, my life will be about being present to people, specifically the people God calls me into personal relationships with.  First and foremost, my primary relationships, after God, will be with the Sisters I live with.  Secondly, the people I am called to minister to.  Through my life of prayer, I can be intimately connected with people who I may never meet or talk to again.

My best friend and I parted last night (without saying goodbye!).  We were astounded at the lack of sadness we both felt.  There was this overwhelming sense of peace – that it is time for our paths to diverge.  Thank God for the gift of detachment!  We also have the gift of Hope – hope that we will spend eternity together.

And because I’ll basically be living The Sound of Music(without the part about marrying a captain with seven children), I’ll leave you with this:

“Christians NEVER say goodbye!”

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P.S. Don’t forget, my loans still need to be paid off before postulancy, so please consider helping out in any way you can.  Donations can be sent to:

Franciscan Sisters, TOR
369 Little Church Road
Toronto, OH 43964

Or made online here – designate the donation for “Formation – Education – Vocations” and put in honor of Victoria Clarizio.

You will all be in my prayers!