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Posts tagged ‘Religious Life’

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.

Let Us Present Ourselves to God

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus, celebrating the day that Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple to present him to God. Many of our sisters made their first profession of vows on that day, so this feast is always special to the sisters, reminding them of that day.

Below is a picture of the motherhouse chapel in which the sisters professed their vows. Neither the chapel nor the motherhouse exist today because of a fire in 1990, but  the sisters who professed their vows on that day, know that their vows and God’s faithfulness still stand.

The old motherhouse chapel of the Dominican Sisters in San Rafael

Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be prersented to God. Let us pray:

Christ, be our light.

Jesus, light of the world, you revealed the love of God to us
– let our lives lead other to the truth of God’s mercy.

Jesus, longed for savior, you are presented with the gifts of the poor;
– help us to dedicate our lives to those in need.

Jesus, child of mystery, your mother’s heart was pierced by prophecy;
– strengthen all women whos dedication to you brings pain and sorrow.

Jesus, child of promise,Simeon had waited and prayed for your coming;
– give us patience and hope as we pray for the fulfillment of your gospel.

Jesus, joy of all who seek God, Anna had given you lifelong service;
– bless the elderly and teach us how to give them joy and encouragement.

Bountiful God, you are father and mother to us. You receive the dedication of the infant Son, Jesus, with two turtle doves. You inspire aged Simeon and Anna to bless and announce his mission. O gentle, strong God, we rejoice in your care for us. Help us to draw those who turn away from yo in fear. Let the saving light of Jesus bring truth and peace to our world. This we ask in his name. Amen.

– from People’s Companion to the Breviary, Carmelite Monastery, Indianapolis, IN

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

Joining Worthy Women – Reaching out their Hands to the Hungry

The first reading today, on the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time talks about a worthy wife. Obviously sisters and nuns are not wives. And in the days that the Book of Proverbs there weren’t nuns or sisters, so our lives could not be imagined. So I’ve taken a little liberty here and changed a few of the words so that it relates to women, whether married or not.

Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy [woman], her value is far beyond pearls. 
[Those who] entrust their heart to her, have an unfailing prize.

She brings good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.

Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

"Sr. Anne Bertain" "St. Dominic Church, San Francisco"

While this is a Christmas setting, Sister Anne Bertain, definitely a “Worthy Woman” reaches out her hand to the hungry every day at St. Dominic’s.

And if you happen to be a single woman, maybe you might think about joining us  as we “reach out our hands to the poor, and extend our arms to the needy. Sister Anne Bertain, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, does this every day in San Francisco at St. Dominic Catholic Church. To learn more about us, please go to our website. If you would like to pray with us, we invite you to San Rafael for an Advent Vespers service on December 1st. Please feel free to contact me to find out more.

St. Teresa of Avila

Today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). She was a Doctor of the Church, also a mystic and writer – and truly a practical, down-to-earth woman who saw into the heart of God, and truly made a difference in her world. Teresa reformed the Carmelite Order during the very difficult pass in the Catholic Church of the Spanish Inquisition.

Through it all, she kept her marvelous sense of humor. Once, after being thrown from a carriage into the mud, she said to God, “If this is how you treat your friends, it’s no wonder you have so few of them.” She was serious about her spiritual practices and being observant to, what we would call, strict religious practices. Nonetheless, she enjoyed life to the fullest, and  encouraged her sisters to do the same. One wonderful story tells how Teresa danced on the table during recreation!

Perhaps it was the beauty of the Spanish countryside that gave her such a sense of passion and the joy of God.

Field of poppies in Spain. Might Teresa have feasted her eyes on these?

Teresa wrote:

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.
 All things are passing; God never changes.
 Patience obtains all things.
 The one who possesses God lacks nothing:
 God alone suffices.

Did she learn this from the poppies?