As Dominicans, one of our mottos is, “Contemplata aliis tradere” – which, means “To contemplate and to share the fruits of our contemplation.” Most often, these contemplative fruits are shared in the form of preaching or service. However, sometimes we actually grow the fruit of our contemplation. Yes, quite literally at times. You see, our newest Candidate Cathy Buchanan has shared with us the actual fruit grown from her contemplation. An Asian melon – affectionately named “Hoa” or “Flower” in Vietnamese was harvested in New Jersey and brought to our convent in New Haven, CT. Cathy shared the fruit of her contemplation with us and it was delicious.
Let me explain –
In June, Cathy participated in our Mission for Peace program. In the context of the opening prayer service and reflection, we were invited to reflect on the story of the Parable of the Sower. Sr. Luisa invited us to see ourselves as the sower, the soil and the seed. What type of soil were we? Were we ready to receive the Word of God as a seed planted in our hearts? Were we the sower? If so, what were we sowing in our lives? In the prayer service, we were invited to prepare the soil and plant some seeds. Then, to nurture them and watch them grow. All the while paying attention to what God was planting in our hearts and nurturing in our lives.
Cathy planted a small seed and nurtured it – just as she had received the call from God in her heart. A call from God that took many years to grow as she nurtured it with prayer, service and study. This seed of a vocation flourished and she took the formal step to enter our congregation as a Candidate during Evening Prayer on the Feast of St. Dominic, August 8.
Just as Cathy’s vocation grew, so did the little plant that she planted in the context of the prayer service during our Mission program. In the course of caring for the plant, Cathy invited her good friend to plant it in her home garden. At this point, her friend decided to name the plant “Hoa” or “Flower” because of her beautiful yellow flowers. Over the months, Hoa grew and spread her vine up the trellis. Yesterday, the melon was harvested and brought to our convent where we enjoyed it for dinner. As we ate the melon, Cathy shared its story with us and we reflected on what fruit we were cultivating in our lives and spirits these days.
Sometimes our dinner conversation turns into a theological reflection. During our dinner yesterday, we recognized the importance of being attentive to the still small voice of God – planting the Word, the seed of a call in our hearts. Once planted, the call must be nurtured through prayer and the accompaniment of wise guides. One of the ways of doing this is by attending Discernment retreats. In fact, this weekend, we are having such a retreat. Fourteen women will be zooming in from around the country to listen to God and to nurture the call planted within their hearts. May we be faithful sowers and gardeners as we accompany them and help nurture that which God has planted.
If God has planted a call in your heart and you want to begin this amazing journey of discernment, contact us here – we will be happy to walk with you as you listen to God’s call.