Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Commentary for the 9th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Sr. Susan Marie Lindstrom, OSB

Each of the 3 readings for mass this Sunday speak about living with integrity, from the inside out, our relationship with God underpinning all our actions. Each of the readings reminds us that a faith professed but not put into action is empty and lifeless.

In the passage from Deuteronomy, Moses urges his listeners to take God’s words into their hearts and souls. Taking them into their heads and being able to recite them is not enough. They are to be heard and lived. I could not help but think that when we memorize a passage, we say we ‘know it by heart’. If we pause to really consider those words, we find a challenge to listen at the deepest level, to allow the words to penetrate and permeate our entire being. Isn’t that what Benedict tells us when he begins the Rule with the admonition ‘listen with the ear of your heart?” (Pro.1)

Matthew, who portrays Jesus as the new Moses, focuses his gospel on what it means to live in the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom in which all are welcomed, which allows goodness and good works to radiate God’s glory.

The passage for this Sunday is the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. Beginning with the beatitudes, Jesus has shared with his listeners the attitudes and behaviors of Beatitude living, of Kingdom dwelling. His words have been challenging, His expectations high. Jesus’ parting words to the crowd remind them that only those who do the will of God will enter the Kingdom. The root word of the ancient term for will actually means ‘delight’. Kingdom followers are called to do what delights God. Are we doing what is right? Restoring right relationships? Acting in our world so that God can once again look upon His people and say “it is VERY good”? Benedict cautions us that ‘the love of God must come before all else.’ (4:21) If we are truly putting the love of God first, and acting from that love, we are doing God’s will.

Jesus cautions us to make our houses on rock rather than sand, to be sure that we have a strong foundation, that we are building our lives upon God, the ground of our being. He does not say that those with strong foundations will be spared from the wind and storms. Jesus points out that those whose lives are built on God will be able to withstand the tempests of life as they lean on God, the rock of their salvation. The wise person builds on rock. The word wise comes from an ancient word that means ‘to adopt a purpose, feel concern, and live in harmony’. The wise person is she who, building on a strong faith, is open to embrace all of God’s people, to reach out to the broken Body of Christ and bring about healing and harmony. The wise person is she who is able to rely on God, even in the midst of suffering, trial and temptation.

When I first read this gospel, I marveled at how it reflected each of our monastic vows:
Obedience: listening to and acting upon the Word
Fidelity: nurturing the relationship we have with God so that our foundation stays a strong, sturdy rock
on which to build our lives; being open to the conversion that this relationship demands
Stability: standing upon the Rock of our salvation, which is God: Father, Son and Spirit

Perhaps the greatest call and challenge in the Gospel today is the call to continued conversion. True conversion means that our actions, thoughts and feelings are firmly and clearly formed by God’s Word, that we allow the God who choose us to form us and change us day by day.

Today, and throughout the coming week, let us examine ourselves and the house we have each built. If the foundation is strong, but the structure a bit shaky, let us be brave enough, attentive enough to do whatever remodeling is necessary to ensure that our house can, in fact, withstand life’s many storms.

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see the One who has called us to the Kingdom.” (Pro. 21)

Friday, May 30, 2008

A fishing we will go...

Recently, I spent time in my hometown of Tell City, Indiana.  I thought you might enjoy a photo story of one of my favorite home activities.  These pictures are of my parents, Kay and Paul, my brother, Fr. Zach and myself.    

Step One: Dig for worms.
Step Two: Cast your line into the water and watch your bobber carefully...
Step Three: Continue to wait patiently...
Step Four:  Show off your first catch of the day!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sr. Maureen Therese Cooney's Vocation Story

I come from a family that has had religious vocations every other generation. As kids my cousins would kid my family that we needed to produce the vocations since we had nuns and priests on both sides of our family tree. Of course my brothers and sisters would protest that it didn’t have to be us.  In the end it was my family that produced the vocations – my brother is a Benedictine priest at St. Meinrad and then there is me – a Sister of St. Benedict of Beech Grove, IN.

So did it all start with that kidding from cousins – who knows. What I do know is that as a student in grade two at our local Catholic School, we all wanted to be nuns. As I grew older there were some things I knew I wanted to do with my life – one was to be a teacher. So I focused my sights on becoming a teacher and just let the idea of become a Sister sit on the back burner.

In college I focused on my studies to become a teacher and was active at the local Newman Center on campus. I enjoyed being involved with the local parish community and found many who felt that they had some type of calling. It helped to be able to discuss that idea with a group of my peers.

As college wound down, I focused on finding a job and getting started in teaching.

I didn’t really begin to think of a vocation to the religious life until my third year of teaching while I was at a little Catholic school just outside of East St. Louis. During that summer, I found a job at the local Catholic summer camp. I had plenty of time to ponder my life and the direction it was taking during the 8 hour nature hike every Monday. I started to really listen to God and what I was being called to. In nature and with the help of one of the other counselors-a Dominican from Springfield - I began to discern my calling.

Sr. Margaret Therese invited me to visit during the school year and to make a visit to their mother house in Springfield. Well, word got out that I was looking around and one of the Sisters I worked with while in Indianapolis sent me a note inviting me to Beech Grove for a visit.

When I arrived in Beech Grove and walked into the front lobby, I felt I had found my place. I felt that I had just arrived home. After that it was just a matter of letting things fall into place.

In July of 1987 I entered Our Lady of Grace Monastery. I remember one phone call early that fall from my Dad. He told me that he was glad I was at the monastery because he could tell that it was the place for me. He told me that I sounded so happy and relaxed and he was happy for me. That was all I needed to hear – I had found my home.

These past 21 years have been years of growth – years I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sr. Mildred Wannemuehler's Vocation Story

(Vocation story of Sister Mildred Wannemuehler)
May 23, 2008

At the autumn of my life, having lived 61 years in the monastic community, I gladly share my story. In the third year of my retirement from a full-time parish ministry, I have had time to reflect, remember and rejoice over the past.

Born the third child to German parents in Evansville, Indiana, I had the example of hard-working parents and siblings that eventually totalled five. My oldest sister, Dolores, at the age of five died from the aftermath of measles. I was one and also had the measles but in changing doctors my life was spared. This is a question I’ve often asked, “Why did God take Dolores and not me?” As I look back, I know God had a plan then already. This decision was strengthened 40 years later when my Dad, in his last weeks on this earth, told me that as a young father he prayed that one of his children would give his/her life to God. In sharing that I realized that my vocation was partly due to my father’s prayers.
I attended St. Boniface School in Evansville taught by the Ursuline Sisters from Louisville. They were excellent educators and already in the lower grades I was sure I wanted to be a teacher…and most likely become an Ursuline Sister. However, after the eigthth grade I wanted to join the Ursuline Aspirancy but my mother said I was too young. However, she did consent to my going to the Academy at Ferdinand which was a boarding high school with several of my classmates. Besides getting a good education, by my junior year I felt I had a monastic vocation. I was so inspired by the prayer life and the community emphasis. So with several other classmates I entered the Novitiate in 1947, finishing my senior year in the convent.

In September of 1950 I was assigned to teach 51 seventh graders at Christ the King in Evansville. Thus began 27 years in the classroom. Ten of those years were in Evansville, including four years in Mater Dei High School.

During these years I was also working on a Master’s Degree at Notre Dame University, in Math and Education. In the summer of my Graduation in 1960 God sent another surprise! I was asked to be transferred to the new foundation at Beech Grove, Indiana. So instead of returning to Ferdinand, my vow of stability was transferred to Our Lady of Grace at Beech Grove, Indiana. Thus another new chapter of my religious vocation began.

My assignment was to teach Math in the girls’ Academy --- which I did along with World History, Religion and English for 13 years. In 1964 the Juniorate was opened at the monastery and I was asked to do that along with the teaching. My prioress also asked me to begin a Master’s in Theology at Collegeville, which I began in 1961 and finished in 1966. Life changed again in 1967 when I was asked to go start a new school in Florissant, Missouri. I was there two years and again returned to the monastery and Academy in 1969. At this time I was made Formation Directress for six years.

In St. Benedict’s Rule we are often reminded that obedience is our way to God. My life is a perfect example. In 1975 I again went on mission to teach at Clarksville, Indiana. After less than two years I was elected prioress and came home to lead the community from 1977-1985. Being superior for 100 Sisters would be another whole chapter of my life. In summary, I could say that “God and I worked together very closely.”
Eight years later I asked for a sabbatical and went to Holy Name College in Oakland, California where I earned a Masters in Creation Spirituality. Where was my monastic vocation taking me next? I responded to an advertisement for a Pastoral Associate in a rural, tourist area in Nashville, Indiana. It ws a parish that had a priest only on the weekends. For 12 years I was a Pastoral Associate and then was asked to be a Parish Life Coordinator for 7 more years. When my age reached 75 I decided it was time to retire. So in June, 2005 I came back to the monastery and am enjoying the fullness of our Benedictine life.
Only one word resonates in my heart, “GRATITUDE”. I thank God for my monastic vocation, which can be ANYWHERE doing ANYTHING as long as we first SEEK GOD.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Commentary on the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by Sr. Kathleen Yeadon, OSB

Gospel of John 6:51-58 Feast of Corpus Christi

At each Eucharist, Jesus invites us to eternal life. In the remembering of Jesus’ final meal with the twelve,
God receives us, heals us and sends us out to be bread for the world. It is a great mystery of our faith--how the breaking of a loaf can unite and heal each person who comes to the table.

Our yearning to live; Our desire for communion; Our longing for purpose -- meet in God’s incredible gift of divine love---poured out.

The gift of the Eucharist reminds us that in dying we live, in giving we have abundance and in receiving we are united.
The incredible gift of the Eucharist is that God invites us to the life of the Trinity. We are given life so that others will receive life. God wants us to share in the divine life of welcoming, healing, and of feeding others.

Precious body, precious blood.
Here in bread and wine:
Here the Lord prepares the feast divine.
Bread of love is broken now. Cup of life is poured. Come share the super of the Lord. 
(Song: The Supper of the Lord)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sr. Susan Marie Lindstrom's Vocation Story

My journey to the monastery began in a Catholic home with a mom, dad, and 4 siblings. From the age of six, I wanted to be a sister. Actually, I wanted to teach and I thought that nun and teacher were synonymous. There was no sense of call, as I can now articulate it. There was no sense that such a lifestyle choice was not the norm. There wasn’t even much sense of God in the picture, except that I knew the nuns carried rosaries and prayed a lot. Still, I guess God has to start somewhere!

My parents supported my desire from the start, assuring me that all they sought was my happiness. In eighth grade, Sr. Vincent Agnes took me under her wing and told me I was going to be her first postulant. At an age when my friends were discovering boys, I was discovering the lives of the saints and perusing brochures from every religious community in my Archdiocese, Philadelphia. In high school, I tried to push God away, but failed… God is persistent and I was finally beginning to sense that it was God who was initiating our relationship.

I attended a Franciscan College on a scholarship and was soon going to morning and evening prayer with the college community. A friendship with two Sisters in my class led to my spending many evenings at their home… so many, in fact, that I had a bedroom, a household task, and a night to lead prayer! I began to meet weekly with their vocation director. Two years after graduation, I asked to begin entrance procedures, but was told that I did not have a Franciscan vocation. I now know that to be true, but at the time I was devastated and confused.

My family had relocated to Texas while I was in college, so I headed south and found employment at a school and parish run by the Marianist brothers and priests. I soon discovered that there were Marianist sisters, too, and I quickly became involved in many of their ministries. I was attracted to their charism, but hesitant to risk being hurt again. Fortunately, God was anything but hesitant and just two short years later, I entered the postulancy.

My Marianist journey actually led me to Beech Grove. I attended a creation spirituality retreat in the summer of 1989, in preparation for first vows. I remember Sr. Mildred talking about the “via negativa” and Sr. Juliann leading us in an art meditation. The next summer I returned for a private retreat, which Sr. Juliann directed.

My Marianist journey ended in 1994, as it was discerned that I was not called to the apostolic life. I was ready to write God off, convinced like Jeremiah, that God had “duped me”. Jesse and John, two of the Marianist men with whom I had shared the journey through initial formation, encouraged (coerced?) me to look for a different community. Just to stop their nagging, I wrote to the only place that I had ever really felt at home… Beech Grove

By June I was on a vocation retreat and by July I was ready to sign up. Actually, I was petrified to try religious life again, but felt almost powerless to do otherwise. I lived in Baltimore at the time, so visiting took a lot of effort. I returned as often as possible, and even had my parents spend the Triduum with the community just before I entered. They were “sold” on the community when they watched one of our older sisters escorted to venerate the cross by a barely younger sister on Good Friday.

September of 2000 I moved into Our Lady of Grace and it has become more and more home for me as I become more and more at home with myself.

Everything I imagined religious life to be is here… with a few more kinks and challenges than I had anticipated, but also with an abundance of blessings. What attracted me here, what keeps me here, is our rhythm of prayer and the value we place on seeking God TOGETHER. I treasure making this journey with my sisters, especially as I continue to glean the wisdom of the elders in this community. I may be 50 years old, but I am yet a youngster in this monastic life and it’s a joy to “sit at the feet” of those whose knowledge comes from experience. God has formed within me a monastic heart and entrusted me to guard it carefully. I look forward to days and months and years of journeying as a Benedictine Sister!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

St. Bernardine of Siena

"Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand."

As I was in the midst of Lectio Divina this morning I came across this quote from St. Bernardine of Siena.  Being a vocation director for my Benedictine Community I felt compelled to pass this quote on to you.  Truly, God calls everyone to love and serve God.  That 
is our vocation.  God gives each of us the gifts and talents we need to build the Kingdom of God on earth.  We just have to trust and say, "YES!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sr. Julie Sewell, OSB

My name is Sr. Julie Sewell O.S.B.   As a sister of St. Benedict, I am a second year novice at Our Lady of Grace Monastery and I will make my First Monastic Profession on June 21, 2008. Our Lady of Grace Monastery is a group of 73 women, dedicated to seeking God through a life founded upon prayer, work and hospitality according to the Rule of St. Benedict. The sisters of Our Lady of Grace have been an active presence in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since arriving in 1955.   As a Benedictine monastic community, the sisters pray the Liturgy of the Hours daily. The sisters are also engaged in various ministries, serving the people of God as teachers, principals, librarians, nurses, mental health care professionals, Directors of Religious Education and Parish Administrators. Our sisters also work with the poor and those in prison. The sisters own and operate St. Paul Hermitage retirement home and Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center.

I came to Our Lady of Grace Monastery in September of 2005 seeking God in the monastic way of life.  I came after 13 years of working in the health care industry. In the five years prior to 2005, I was content with my life and not looking for a change. It seems that God had other ideas. I think of Proverb 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures”. This proverb gave me comfort because it simply states and attests to the truth that God is all Truth, all Love, all Knowledge, all Powerful, and God endures forever. My desire was simply to follow God’s ways and God’s will for my life. I believed that I had been in step with God’s teaching, leading a life of work and living with integrity.

In the year 2000, I had an experience that would change the direction of my life. I still remember the experience clearly. I was getting ready for work one morning, brushing my teeth. It was an ordinary morning and as I was brushing my teeth, this question arose into consciousness. The question was, do you know who you are anymore? And what are you doing with your life? It was a strange experience – the question arose suddenly and it didn’t come from me. I didn’t hear an audible voice but I knew this question was not my question. I believed then and still believe today that the question came from God. At first I was amused by the question and thought that I would just “ shake it off” and move into my regular routine. However, the question never left me and so I found myself living with and trying to answer the question. The more I tried to answer the question, the deeper my longing for God. It was as if the question awakened a fire within me that could not be put out. I felt like the deer that yearns for living water in Psalm 42. “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you. O God” (Psalm 42:2).

I look back to the morning that the question arose in my consciousness and can clearly say that that moment was the beginning of my religious vocation story. It would take three or four years to sort out my answer to the question. The question was the beginning of significant change in my life. In the end, I would end up moving from Chicago to Indianapolis. I would end up leaving my chosen career of 13 years. I would end up entering Our lady of Grace Monastery in 2005. I made the decision to enter after much seeking, much consultation with religious and wise elders in the community, and with much prayer and discernment.

As I look back on the years that led up to my entrance into Our Lady of Grace, I feel great awe, wonder and gratitude for God’s grace and the beauty and mystery of life. It seemed that whenever I was puzzled or unsure of what step to take next, God would provide a “nudge” of some sort to propel me forward. Sometimes these nudges came in the form of people. I remember that anytime I decided to stop pursuing a vocational change, people would come up to me and say something like – you have a vocation and you need to deal with it. I became active in ministry on a volunteer basis – working with youth in prison and working with the homeless. I sensed God’s spirit with me as I did this work and it felt right in a deep way. I also had chance encounters. I was in the religious section of a bookstore one day and a young woman asked me if I knew of a good book on prayer. We began to talk and she said that her mother had died of cancer 4 years ago and that she hadn’t been able to pray since her death. I suggested a few books but more importantly, sat down and prayed with her on the spot. On another occasion, as I was walking to the train stop on my way home from work, I encountered a woman shaking the door handles of a church trying to get inside. It was evening and the church was closed. I stopped and asked her is she was all right. She said that she needed to pray. I assured her that God would hear her on the steps of the church too. We talked and she was having a rough time. Her elderly mother was dying and she went to the nursing home every evening after work. She was a single parent and had three children who didn’t like their mother leaving them to go to the nursing home. She was exhausted and just needed to share her frustration and pour out her grief. For me these experiences were suggestions that this was my future work and not my old career.

I also had one particular dream that recurred anytime I stopped pursuing a vocational change. The first time I had the dream was after helping serve meals at a retreat. I had cut up slices of lemon to put in glasses for tea. I had 12 glasses left and I was out of lemons. I searched and searched and found one puny lemon. Somehow, I was able to get 12 slices from it. Later, someone said, would you get milk out of the frig? So, I opened the door to the large walk-in refrigerator and almost tripped over a box of about 40 lemons. I thought it was amusing – I had worked so hard to find that one small lemon – and here was an abundance of lemons. The next morning as I was getting dressed and brushing my teeth, a thought arose in my consciousness, Again, it came suddenly and didn’t seem to be my thought. The thought was – “your life is like that one lemon that you stretched so thin, if you would give up your old life, there would be abundance in your life”. I knew that this abundance was a spiritual abundance. Whenever this dream recurred, I knew I needed to continue on the journey. When I stopped having the dream, I knew I was on track. Interestingly, I stopped having the dream when I formally entered the admission process for Our Lady of Grace Monastery.

Since my vocation journey was a four or five year process, these are just a few of the more compelling highlights. I feel truly blessed to be at Our Lady of Grace. I feel at home deep in my soul. The combination of community living, monastic prayer and ministry feels like the rhythm of life that God intended for me. I like being a part of a monastic tradition that goes back 1500 years – following in the footsteps of monastics that have faithfully served the people of God for centuries. Why did God call me to monastic life specifically? I don’t know that I can answer that in a definitive way other than to say that it feels exactly right to me – like an old pair of shoes that fits so well. And God does call us all. Certainly, the Bible is full of examples of God’s calling out to his people. My prayer is that I will be able to answer as Isaiah did – “ 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” (Isaiah 6:8). And as St. Benedict said in his Rule, “Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life” RB 72.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seeking God's Will in Our Daily Lives

It is not too late to register for our June 20-22, 2008 "Come and See" retreat weekend.  Sr. Marie Therese Racine, OSB (left) and Sr. Anne Louise Frederick, OSB (right) our the featured speakers.  

Sr. Marie Therese is seeking God as a Sister of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery. She made her perpetual monastic profession in June 2007.  She is presently teaching music at St. Malachy Catholic School in Brownsburg, IN.

Sr. Anne Louise has been seeking God as a Benedictine Sister for eight years.  She celebrated her perpetual monastic profession in June 2007.  She currently teaches mathematics at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, IN.

For more information about this retreat please contact Sr. Nicolette Etienne:
1402 Southern Avenue
Beech Grove, IN 46107
(317) 787-3287 X 3032 

This weekend is designed for single, Catholic women between the ages of 18 and 40. There is no charge for the retreat.  Who are currently discerning religious life.  You can also register on line at  I look forward to hearing from you soon.  May God bless you as you discern how to love and serve God in your daily life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Life at the Monastery

Yesterday we welcomed six little goslings close to the entrance of our monastery. Gladys, the proud mother, is very protective of her little ones and keeps us at a distance.  Cyril, the father, who has been close by the entire waiting period, must be out spreading the good news because we have not seen him since the birth.  Sr. Jennifer Mechtild and I have taken it upon ourselves to give them solid Benedictine names. They are:  Gertrude, Scholastica, Hildegard, Mechtild, Benedicta and Walburga.  

For a month the sisters have been watching, at a distance, and anticipating this miracle of new life.  It has been a joy watching the sisters as they journeyed with Gladys through this special time.  We will miss our daily visits with Gladys when she leaves.  But we can count on her return next spring when she begins this process all over again.

Gladys reminds us of a mother's love as she nurtures, protects and loves her little ones.  It also reminds us of God's great love for each of us.  God nurtures, protects and loves us into life, Alleluia!

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Commentary for The Most Holy Trinity by Sr. Kathleen Yeadon, OSB

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.  (2 Cor. 13)

The mystery of the Trinity is a delight for your soul.  The more you immerse yourself, the more delightful it becomes.  The Old Testament is an incredible epic of events in which God tries to shape a people into a sign of the His love and presence.  God's attempt to shape the people doesn't go very well.  We can definitely understand the weakness of humanity.  The revelation of the Divine is just a glimpse and often hard to fully comprehend.  The New Testament has the definitive revelation of God with the Incarnation. God becoming human is not easy to grasp but at least we can see and touch the Word of God.  Even with the powerful ingredient of the Holy Spirit, our attempts at creating a people of God is still lacking.  The great mystery of the Trinity is that we don't have to get it right.  The Trinity continues to do the work of creation, redemption and matter what humanity does or doesn't do.  Now that is love...welcoming, forgiving and including without hesitation on the part of the Divine.  So often we find ourselves on the outside of the circle of the Trinity due to fear or failure.  The feast calls us to let go of anything that keeps us out of the dance of love.

Love upon love,
Flow down on us.
Love upon love,
Cleanse us free.
Love upon love, 
Include us.

Steps to becoming a Benedictine Sister Part Three: Postulancy

The postulancy is a period of eight months to one year.  The postulant enters the community generally in September, and begins to live the Benedictine way of life on a daily basis.  A ceremony after evening prayer on the day of her entrance marks her acceptance by the community.  This time is a tremendous opportunity for the postulant to get to know the community in a much deeper way. It is also a chance for the community to see how the postulant acclimates herself to her new surroundings.  The postulant does not work outside the monastery during this time and performs tasks in the monastery and in the two corporate ministries of the sisters, St. Paul Hermitage and the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center. She also attends classes pertaining to the monastic life in addition to various other classes.  The postulant meets weekly with her formation director who helps her ease into the monastic practices and schedule.  The postulant retains her own money and is responsible for any bills incurred prior to her entrance and while she is a postulant.  After a period of approximately eight months she may seek permission from the Prioress and the Monastic Council to continue her journey and go on to the next step as a novice.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Steps to becoming a Benedictine Sister Part Two: Affiliation

The affiliation step is the very beginning of the journey.  When a woman is interested in religious life, she looks at many different communities to see where she is called.  All communities are different and a person is drawn to one community versus another for many different reasons.  It may be their prayer, community life, or mission that draws a person to a particular place.  Whatever the case may be, women today carefully discern their call to religious life and the community.  At Our Lady of Grace Monastery, we accept single Catholic women between the ages of 22-45 who have no previous marriages or children, who desire to serve the people of God in Community founded upon prayer, work and hospitality.  The affiliation stage can last from six months to two years.  It begins by a woman expressing her desire to the Prioress and Vocation Director to get to know the community better by attending prayer, meals and visiting the community on a frequent basis.  It is also a period of time where the candidate meets with the Vocation Director and keeps in contact with her as they discern her call together.  Once the affiliate believes she is ready to take the next step she must meet with the Prioress and then formally write a letter seeking permission to enter the community as a postulant.  Upon the acceptance of the request by the Prioress, the affiliate is ready to take the next step.  

On June 19, 2008, Heather, pictured above, will become an affiliate of Our Lady of Grace Monastery.  Please pray for Heather as well as for other happy, holy, healthy women who are discerning their call to religious life.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Commentary for Ascension Sunday by Sr. Pamela Kay Doyle, OSB

Go. Observe. Teach. Baptize. Grow. Follow. Edify. Call.  
We have been commissioned.
In Matthew's Gospel, the eleven disciples are gathered; Jesus knows that he must take his leave from his earthly home to go to his heavenly home.  Jesus knows, too, that the work on earth is not finished.  For this moment he has prepared his friends.  It was to be a moment of ending, and a greater moment of beginning.  Before he returns home, Jesus gives instructions to each of them. Before he returned home, Jesus gave instructions to each of us.
God and grow.  Do not remain static.  Expand your mind, your heart, your love of one another.
Observe and follow.  Practice living the Ten Commandments; practice living the Beatitudes, practice living the forgiveness and mercy of God.
Teach and edify.  Through word and deed share with others the love of Christ.  Share the peace that Christ bestows to each of us.
Baptize and call.  Bring others into the fold.  Bring others in so that they too may be brought more fully into the Family of God.
We have been commissioned by Christ, no differently than when Jesus spoke to the Eleven on the mountain in Galilee.  The mission is still the same, "make disciples of all nations."
Jesus knew then, and Jesus knows now the road ahead of us.  And soon, he will send an Advocate in his place.  He will not leave us alone.
Matthew chooses these words to end his Gospel, "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."  

And behold, GO, OBSERVE, TEACH, BAPTIZE:  and know that Jesus is always and eternally with you.