Thursday, August 6, 2015
Prayer, community life and ministry all begin
"So be imitators of God -- and live
in love." (Ephesians 5:1)
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
One of the highlights of the summer for our Sisters is the
celebration of Jubilee Day. As we participate in this joyous
occasion, we are invited once again to consider the meaning of the
commitment we have made. St. Paul says it very well in Sunday's
second reading: religious life is a life of love.
A Sister in her 90s enters the convent chapel in the evening and
kneels on the floor before the tabernacle. She spends the last few
minutes of her day in communion with her Beloved. Religious
life involves a deep, intimate, personal love of Jesus Christ.
Personal prayer is at the heart of a Sister's daily routine.
A Sister attends her mother's funeral two weeks before
Christmas. She spends several days at the convent during the
holiday season, praying, visiting, sharing meals with the Sisters,
and repeating her story yet one more time. As she drives home to
her mission, she tells herself, "I feel so loved." Religious
life is about sharing joys and dreams, burdens and pain, with a
group of women who inspire and encourage, befriend and support each
other. Being bonded with her Community, a Sister is assured
that she never has to walk the journey alone.
A Sister returns home after school and announces that although
she has reached the retirement age, her parish will do anything to
keep her there. She has made such an impact on the children and
their families that the administrator will create a new position
for her. A Sister serves in many ways, through education, healing,
and related ministries, but her presence goes far beyond the
particular work that she does. She is remembered primarily for the
love she has shown.
Prayer, community life, ministry -- these are the pillars of
religious life and they are all dimensions of that one commitment
to love. Jesus is the center of that one dedication. As a Sister
moves into the future, her only goal is to fall more deeply in
love. Why? Because she knows that God has first loved her with an
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
For National Vocation Awareness Week, may we
all listen to God's call
by Sister Laura Zelten
A young woman recently stated how clear the invitation to follow
God is in Sacred Scripture. When I asked her what she meant, she
said, "Samuel was awakened in the middle of the night, Paul was
knocked down and blinded on the road, and Mary had an angel come to
her. For them it seems so clear and direct. Why isn't it that way
I smiled in agreement. Sometimes the invitation to follow
Jesus can seem nebulous or inaudible. But maybe the people of
Scripture were listening intently and were open to God's call no
matter how it came.
To hear God we might be well served to silence the noise around
us. It is so easy for us to fill our days and nights with
activities. Connecting with the spiritual means a daily commitment
to quality prayer time. God does speak to us through Scripture,
Eucharist, nature, and the people and events in our lives. Can we
be like the people of Scripture and listen closely for God?
Through prayerful discernment we discover that God wants only what
is good for us -- what brings wholeness and leads to holiness.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Who helps you recognize the Messiah?
by Sister Laura Zelten
What appeared as a normal day at the temple was extraordinary.
Luke's text tells of Mary and Joseph's purification even though the
Law only required purification of the woman after childbirth. Mary
and Joseph needed to share the experience, to grasp the magnitude
of the proclamations made about their son. In essence, their
purification was a symbolic cleansing for their earthly
responsibility of raising the Messiah.
In the temple, Mary and Joseph met two people, Simeon and Anna,
representatives of humanity through whom all generations would
acknowledge the Messiah. What was different about them? Simeon was
righteous and devout, a godly man. Anna, a prophetess, fasted and
prayed day and night in the temple. They recognized the Messiah in
Today, as we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life,
we remember all vowed Sisters, Brothers and Priests who have taught
us about Jesus. We give thanks to God for their willingness and
sacrifice to be signs of hope for us. We pray that God will
continue to bless them and will grace the Church with more men and
women who will continue to serve God and God's people.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
When I think of the line "for the sake of the Gospel" I think of
people who have given their lives to Christ -- Francis and Clare of
Assisi, Norbert, Francis Xavier, Our Blessed Mother, Mother Teresa,
Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Maria Goretti and the list goes on. The
Saints were people who heard the call to be on mission and were not
afraid to give their lives totally to God.
In today's New Testament Readings from Corinthians and Mark's
Gospel, we hear of two men who are "on a mission." For St.
Paul, his mission is to be a "slave to all" in order that he "might
win over as many people as possible" to the Gospel message.
Jesus' message was to accomplish what he was sent to do, mainly
"... to go on the villages that I may preach there also."
This mission gave both men a sense of meaning and purpose in what
they were about and an identity as to who they were in relationship
to those whose lives they touched. Jesus states clearly, "for
this purpose I have come ... to preach and drive out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee." For Paul, it was his
purpose in life to "become all things to all, to save at least
This Sunday, the Church recognizes and expresses gratitude for
those who have consecrated their lives to God.
World Day for Consecrated Life is the occasion to promote this
life choice as one of the ways to live out our baptismal
Consecrated life, rooted deeply in the example and teaching of
Christ the Lord, is a special gift of God. Some women and men
are called by God to live the evangelical counsels of poverty,
chastity and obedience. By devoting themselves to God with
undivided hearts, women and men embrace God's radical call, leaving
all things behind and daring to put themselves totally at the
service of God and God's people.
- In my baptismal call how am I on mission?
- In what ways have I been inspired by the lives of men and women
Friday, January 13, 2012
by Sister Mary Kabat
We have come to the close of National Vocation Awareness Week
(Jan. 9 to 14), but our Scripture readings continue the spirit of
the week. We see the young Samuel peacefully asleep when God
calls to him. We watch him leap up and run eagerly to Eli,
"Here I am." Here I am, ready and willing to do whatever you
ask of me.
We have "Samuel" times in life when we feel eager to give
ourselves fully to someone or something and anticipate the good
that will come to our lives …college, a job, marriage, a child… In
all the experiences of life God is calling us to grow, mature and
speak our "Here I am" more fully, truly and deeply.
But our God knows that we also become "more" by becoming
"less." In the Gospel John the Baptist reveals Jesus as
the Lamb of God to his disciples and then lets them go to follow
him. That day John's "Here I am" was to embrace his
We have "John" times in life when we are called to say "Here I
am" to an illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, and other
challenges human life brings us. In those moments God is
calling us to embrace those experiences with trust and belief that
they also are opportunities for us to become more fully the person
God is ever calling us to be.
Sister Laura Zelten, our Vocation Director, closed her National
Vocation Awareness letter to us with these words: "Let us
pray that each of us, in our full response to God's call may, like
Jesus, (like Samuel, like John) hear God say, 'You are my beloved
with whom I am well pleased.'"
Thursday, January 5, 2012
|Our Motherhouse Chapel doors lead to the baptismal font
where we renew our belief in the Father, Son and Holy
"You are my Beloved with whom I am well pleased." --
by Sister Laura Zelten
January 9-14 is National Vocation Awareness Week, which begins
with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. This feast is the
bridge between Christmas and Ordinary Time in the Church. I
always find this time difficult. We no longer see the glitter
of the Christmas decorations, the Christmas cookies and candy are
almost gone and the seasonal music has stopped. There seems
to be a let down feeling in the air. Anticipation is gone and
everything is packed away.
So how are we to celebrate the Baptism of our Lord? It is
a day to remember Jesus' call to mission but also a day for us to
remember our call as baptized Catholic Christians. We are
called to proclaim the Good News with our lives.
During National Vocation Awareness week we are asked to pray for
vocations: that all people will open their hearts to God's
call and respond freely and fully. Let's do that.
During this next week, let each of us promise to pray that people
will live their lives as God calls them. In particular, let
us ask God to open the hearts of many men and women so they may
hear the happiness to which they are called through service to the
Church as vowed religious, deacons and priests. Let us pray
that each of us, in our full response to God's call may, like
Jesus, hear God say: "You are my Beloved with whom I am well