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Posts tagged ‘call’

I Love Being a Nun!

While this post is entitled, “I Love Being a Nun!”, actually I am a sister. Nuns are those who are cloistered and primarily involved in the ministry of prayer. Those of us who are sisters are involved in apostolic ministry – and that’s a big umbrella (teaching, hospital ministry, parish ministry, social work, working for social justice, etc.).  So, it would be more correct for me to say, “I love being a sister”, which I do often. But since people often call sisters nuns . . .

Well, you see what I mean.

Anyway, nineteen years ago today I entered the convent and started the process of becoming a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. I made my first profession of vows in 1996 and my perpetual vows in 1999. And while nineteen is not one of those special numbers like 20, 25, or 50, it still seems pretty significant to me. I was 40 years old when I entered (I guess you can do the math). And I still love being a sister. My family tells me that they have never known me to be happier. Living in community – doing work that is satisfying and of benefit to others – praying together with a community of sisters on a daily and regular basis – being encouraged to continue to study . . . to be all we can be (for the sake of others) . . . What can I say but that I am grateful!

And Meister Eckhart, the Dominican mystic from the 13th century tells us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

I highly recommend this life to others!

Here I am with John and Don, a couple of friends, at a party prior to my entering the convent.

 

 

Here I am playing the guitar at a ceremony for Sister Alexa, our newest novice, just a couple of weeks ago.

Here I Am, Send Me

The first reading on Saturday is Isaiah 6:1-8 – a dramatic story of God calling the prophet. Though we may not see visions, doesn’t it always feel a bit dramatic to experience a sense of call . . . to get a glimpse of the Holy . . . to be grasped by Something bigger than ourselves?

It may even give us the courage to say, “Here I am, send me.”

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft.

They cried one to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

He touched my mouth with it and said, 
“See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”

Can we find the courage to say, “yes’, even when we discover that the way involves a cross?

God Leads Us in Love into the Desert

Today’s first reading is from Hosea – a favorite reading of mine from chapter 2.

Thus says the LORD: I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me “My husband,”
and never again “My baal.”

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

What beauty awaits if we allow ourselves to be drawn into the desert?

How to Choose the Way We Live Our Lives

As the Vocation Minister for our congregation of Dominican Sisters, I am often asked about how to choose from among the many wonderful possibilities of vocations. It is easy for us to choose when Choice A is clearly good, and Choice B is clearly bad. But it usually doesn’t work that we. We most often make choices from among things that are good. And if they are good, we also know that God is in them. So we are also not making a choice between God and Not-God.

Now much as I would like to tell many gifted, generous, and committed women that the best choice is to become a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, alas, I cannot do that. We only know our own hearts. And, as much as this has been a wonderful and life-giving vocation for me, others have other fulfilling vocations to live.

So how to choose? Perhaps the Sufi poet Rumi can help us. I don’t think I could say it any better!

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

~ Rumi ~

Holy Spirit, draw us.

Open a New Window, Open a New Door

There are so many instances in the Scriptures where we see someone being called by God. Today’s Gospel reading gives us another one of those instances. Today Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John. And, truly, God calls each of us today and every day to follow.

I like the way Auntie Mame expresses it in the musical “Mame”. She sings:

Open a new window,
Open a new door,
Travel a new highway,
That’s never been tried before;
Before you find you’re a dull fellow [or perhaps young woman],
Punching the same clock,
Walking the same tight rope
As everyone on the block.
The fellow you ought to be is three dimensional,
Soaking up life down to your toes,
Whenever they say you’re slightly unconventional,
Just put your thumb up to your nose.
And show ’em how to dance to a new rhythm,
Whistle a new song,
Toast with a new vintage,
The fizz doesn’t fizz too long.
There’s only one way to make the bubbles stay,
Simply travel a new high way,
Dance to a new rhythm,
Open a new window ev’ry day!

A window in Chartres, France.

Come and You Will See

Today’s Gospel passage (John 1:35-42) tells of Jesus inviting the disciples to follow him by inviting them to “Come and See.” He’s not asking them to make a commitment. He’s not saying they should follow him. He’s not telling them how they should live their lives. He is simply inviting them to investigate . . . to observe . . . to see for themselves just who he is and what he is about.

We, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, are hosting a Come and See Day on February 4th. We’re not  asking for a commitment either, we are simply inviting single Catholic women, between the ages of 20 and 45 to come . . . to investigate . . . to observe . . . to ask questions . . . and to find out for themselves just what being a sister might be like.

Why don’t you come? Why don’t you encourage someone?

Come and You Will See

Here I Am, Your Servant Is Listening

Our Scripture readings continue with the theme of call. Yesterday’s was the calling of Jesus’ disciples, and today, in the First Book of Samuel, we read about the calling of the prophet Samuel.

Then Eli [the prophet] understood that God was calling the youth. So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the Lord came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

And in today’s response from Psalm 40 we read:

Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

We will only be able to answer God when we have learned to recognize God's voice. So we need to take time for solitued, prayer, and reflection.