Every vocation story begins with a call – a call to share your gifts with others who want to make a difference in the world. If you believe that you’ve heard God’s call, and you want to write your own story with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, contact us to begin a conversation.
So, yesterday after supper, I thought about what I planned to do tomorrow…more study for my sabbatical, maybe a few house chores, some exercise, even a nap and then attend a couple necessary meetings at night, over Zoom, of course. Then, came the interruptions to my plans . . .
- Before I went to bed, the first “interruption” was a request to speak at the first evening meeting for just three minutes, but I knew it would require careful planning and even a session of revision with someone else to get the message just right. By the time I wrote the script, edited it with my friend, practiced it, and then delivered the “three-minute wonder,” four hours slipped by!
- Then at prayer this morning, came the second “interruption,” which was a request to go to the grocery store to get some items for baking. If I were to do anything I really wanted to do or planned to do for myself today, I could have responded by saying “No Way!” or, at least, “Sorry, I can’t.” But, I paused and realized that these responses would have been because I was putting myself first and missing an opportunity to be charitable. So, I went and about two more hours in, my day was completely different then I imagined it would be and my time for the day was now completely transformed.
- I discovered the third “interruption” when I checked my email late this morning, and realized I was to write this blog for today. WHOOPS! Somehow, that slipped my mind, and I worried a bit about that and then said to myself “Keep calm and carry on!”
I still struggle with these opportunities to be more spontaneous in my day. Yet, I’ve discovered that when I am open to changing my plans and going with the flow, I am surprised, even amused, by what I learn and how much better my day is.
- At the first meeting, my community will get to hear about the great love and time commitment some of my sisters and I put into preparing our congregational study for this year. INSPIRING!
- Our visiting sister was able to bake three lovely mango pies for my sisters at home and in another convent not far away. YUMMY!
- in the end, I discovered that I spent the day in an experience of unexpected calling and was able to write this blog, which brought me great JOY.
The main difficulty I experienced with these “interruptions” was overcoming my expectation of how I wanted the day to unfold. I wanted the day to be predictable and for my planned activities to happen on my timeline. What I learned is that I need to remind myself throughout the day to be available to others. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was a good decision to “change the plan.” Because life is unpredictable and we are often faced with daily opportunities that invite us to make changes, we need to ask ourselves what God is asking of us. We can dialogue with God about how “our plans” can be more loving and more generous, perhaps even more meaningful.
So…whatever expectations you have for your life, I encourage you to hold onto them more lightly! You might be surprised by what happens, and you will most likely be delighted by what transpires in the end. As good as your expectations and plans for the day might be, God can show you how to make your life even better!
Maybe God is inviting you to consider changes to whatever plans you have for your life. Perhaps God is nudging you to explore the call to become a religious sister. You may find that religious life exceeds your expectations! Begin the journey. Contact us to learn more about how we can be of help with your discernment.
Is waking up hard for you to do? Are you one to rise and shine upon hearing your alarm clock break the silence of the morning? Or, like me, are you slow to rise from the comfort of your bed and like to stay under the blankets past the time the alarm clock sounds off?
Our ease or difficulty with waking up can be more than just a physical challenge though. Waking up can also be an experience of spiritual awakening, of coming to an awareness of who we are (our life’s purpose), who we are called to be, what we are called to stand up for or against.
Waking up can have so many different meanings. We may be quick to respond to new ideas or we may be slow to accept new ideas. Waking up is a metaphor for how we engage or disengage from people, ideas, or situations. Reflect with me for a moment on this theme of waking up. How do we need to wake up? Do you find it hard to:
- Wake up to what is just and unjust around you?
- Wake up to God’s call to something more in life?
- Wake up to truth and falsehoods?
- Wake up to beauty and see the good around you?
- Wake up to oppressive systems that need to change and vow not to be silent?
- Wake up to how God sees you and others?
- Wake up to being present in the moment and understand how you might be absent with others?
- Wake up to what is important and recognize what is less trivial?
Waking up is a spiritual journey of discovery about ourselves and others, of seeking and understanding how we are called to be and what we are called to do.
We may find it hard to wake up to new realities that bring the need for making changes or decisions. We may find it difficult to accept and move on from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Waking up to new ways of seeing and understanding what is happening within us and around us can be unsettling but also transformative, calling us into deeper union with others and to a richer awareness of God’s abiding love and presence among us.
What about you? What do you find difficult to wake up to?
Is God inviting you to wake up to the possibility of being called to become a religious sister? Why not take time to explore this vocation by joining us for our January Mission for Peace program, January 13-15, 2023. Contact us to learn more about religious life and this program.
One of my favorite lines from the Gospel of John is, “I have called you friends.” That is how my relationship with God is. We are friends. Not just the kind of friends who tell you what you want to know, but one of those friends who knows you so well they can look you in the eye and know what you’re thinking, if you’re lying, in a bad or good mood and can challenge you with the hard things, the honest truth.
That kind of friendship is indeed “priceless.”
As we reflect on what it means for God to call us friend, I invite you to reflect on the words to this song written by Sr. Rita McManus.
I set my rainbow in the sky
above the clouds so bright and high.
It speaks of promise that never ends,
my faithful love – I call you friend.
I walk with you in all your ways,
it was my love that fashioned you.
To be a people I call my own,
walk close to me – I call you friend.
I call each one by your own name
and you are precious in my sight.
I hold your hand- Do not be afraid,
I am your God – I call you friend.
You are my friends, not servants now
for I have told you everything.
Live in my love ‘til I come again,
complete your joy – I call you friend.
And in the breaking of the bread
you will remember all I said.
My Holy Spirit to you I send
and my own peace – I call you friend.
Though now you see as in a glass
that day will dawn when face to face,
in radiant joy that will never end
you’ll know the one who calls you friend.
“Please know we are here for you.”
These words were sent to me in an e-mail from a Sister here and filled my heart with gratitude and made me think of why I feel blessed to be a part of this community.
Familiar to many of us is the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This proverb conveys the importance of community in fostering the growth and well-being of a child. Once we are adults, we still need the benefits of a community to grow and for our well-being. Few of us can grow without the help of others; our need for the presence of others in our lives is vital to living a fruitful, meaningful life. We are social beings who need to connect with others and we need the help of others to survive.
Faced with life’s challenges, we may try to do what we can alone without others, but more than likely, we will find we need community help to survive and thrive. We are healthier human beings when we have social support. “Physiologically, not having a social support system is actually a source of chronic stress for our bodies,” according to research by Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at The University of California, Berkeley.
Clearly, community is important to us and finding a community to help us along life’s path is not always easy. What makes for a good community? According to Coretta Scott King, “the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” I find this quote significant at this moment in my life because I have been the beneficiary of such compassion from this religious community of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
Recently, both my husband and I have been struggling with health challenges, requiring major surgery for both of us around the same time. The compassion and support we have received from the Sisters has been tremendous, filling our hearts with such gratitude during this difficult time for us. Experiencing this community in action in our personal situation has been heartwarming, brought home further by an email from one Sister who said to me, “please know we are here for you.” These words sum up the beauty of this community and what this religious community is about in responding to the needs of those around them.
So, if you are a women discerning a vocation to religious life, I encourage you to explore this community of Sisters. In my own experience, the sisters practice what they preach and their example of being community to others is a beautiful testament to living out the Gospel message of serving and loving others.