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Posts tagged ‘sisters’

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.

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.

Only Child

Only child

Yes. It’s the fawns that continue to be the object of my affection. We are besotted with them here.

Our campus is a Wildlife Habitat, as can be seen in this picture. And we are vigilant now that there are babies, because sometimes neighbors bring their dogs, in spite of our signs. And sometimes they are even off leash, though one of the sisters was quite happy to report that she saw a dog with a mother doe in hot pursuit.

As I walked across the campus a few minutes ago, I saw a jackrabbit, but I find they are much too quick to be caught on camera. Ah well, the deer are so much fun to watch, especially from the kitchen window when preparing dinner.

Serving the Little Ones

Students from Dominican University in San Rafael traveled to Tijuana, Mexico for a service trip. It was a wonderful experience for all involved. The students exhibited generosity, joy, and a wonderful spirit. One of the places the students enjoyed most was Casa de Cuna, where young children stay for the day or week while their mothers are working. This wonderful work was founded, and is still staffed, by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Mexico.

Dominican student, Laura, plays peek-a-boo with one of the girls at Casa de Cuna.

Teach Me Your Paths, O Lord

Today I am sharing Sister Gervaise Valpey’s reflection on tomorrow’s reading for the 3rd Wednesday in Lent.

Tuesday, Third Week of Lent
March 13, 2012
Daniel 3: 25, 34-43; Matthew 1: 21-35

The reading from Daniel 3:25, 34-43 encourages us to delve deeper into our hearts to find the humility that will release God’s generous mercy to us. It may have taken the raging furnace for Azariah and his companions to acknowledge their God, but once they recognized their sinfulness and their immense losses they could see a way to
find favor with their God. With “contrite hearts and humble spirit” they sought forgiveness – for themselves and their nation – from the “God of kindness and great mercy.” Once they sought forgiveness, they could “follow God unreservedly . . . with their whole heart.”

What does it take for me – for us – to reach that point of humility, that moment of letting go so we can speak honestly before our gracious God? What do e need so we can go forth giving our all? I have found that taking time to reflect on the experiences
when I have felt most lost and not in connection ith God, enables me to pray humbly with the Responsorial Psalm, “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me teach me your paths.”

One such challenging experience, when I felt most bereft, as the time when my mother lived in a full care unit of a retirement residence. My mother as suffering from dementia. I felt I as indeed being “tried by fire,” as I visited her each day. I looked for answers and searched for words to say. I felt deeply saddened by her condition and that of the residents around her. When I could pray with humility, letting myself move out of the way, before entering the facility, I could be at peace because it as only then
that I truly could be present to my mother. Turning over those moments to God, I could learn from my mother – her sense of gratitude, her peace, her need only for presence.

I believe God responds generously when we are honest with ourselves, and when we can really see hat God has done for us. Let us pray today to recognize God’s abundant grace and presence in our lives, especially at the most challenging moments. “Guide me in your truth and teach me.”

Sister Gervaise in front of a Santa Cruz sunset

The above can also be found at

Transfiguration and First Vows

On Sunday afternoon Sister Colleen McDermott, OP will make her First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. She is delighted that the Gospel reading of the day

Sister Colleen McDermott, OP

from Mark 9:2-10 is about Jesus’ Transfiguration. Jesus’ disciples saw him on the high mountain, suddenly, as he truly was . . . even though they didn’t understand. All of us are also on a journey to becoming more of who we truly are . . . even though we may not be able to see it clearly or understand the process.

Sister Colleen’s profession will be one more step on her journey of becoming. A transfiguration of a sort. And we, the Dominican Sisters, are delighted that she wants to continue with us on our journey becoming more of who we are called to be.

Do All for the Glory of God

Paul encourages us today in the First Letter to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters,
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Sister Sally doing one of her favorite things: Making Cookies!