Alive with Franciscan joy

Forgetting Yourself for Jesus

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WorldDayConsecratedLifeby Sister Laura Zelten

I came across a book titled "Forgetting Ourselves on Purpose." I thought it was a great description of vowed life. It's exactly what we do as women and men religious.

As the Church celebrates World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2, we recognize and give thanks to Sisters, Brothers and Priests who, through their baptismal commitment, have dedicated their lives to the mission of Jesus. We religious are seized with an overwhelming, all-consuming desire to give ourselves directly to Christ and the Church.  Our call requires us to step outside the safety of the crowd, beyond the normal route Christians generally are called to travel.

The Church invites people who are generous, adventurous, committed, and single-minded to become consecrated disciples who are willing and capable of forgetting themselves on purpose. Why? To be God's visible instruments of service to those in need and to the Church.

Whether or not you are called to consecrated life, be passionately ambitious in finding where Christ's love inspires you to forget yourself on purpose.

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Similarities between Sisters and skaters

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

FigureIceSkating02by Sister Laura Zelten

This Sunday our Church celebrates Consecrated Life Day. This day is set aside to appreciate the gifts religious women and men bring to the Church.

It might sound strange but as I watched the U.S. Women's Figure Skating competition last Sunday, it occurred to me there were similarities between the successful skaters and those of us called to religious life.

First, the dedication to excellence: Each woman was committed to long hours of practice. Some put their education on hold in order to compete. Dedication is also a trait of religious women and men. We are committed to rooting our lives in prayer and ministry.  And yes, it takes practice.  Every day my Sisters and I spend time in communal prayer and personal prayer. We are dedicated to growing in our relationship with God. Renewed by prayer, religious women and men serve the Church. We give our whole lives to working with and for the people of God, whether as teachers, health-care givers, pastoral ministers, parish directors, faith formation personnel or hospital chaplains.

Second, the ability to stay focused: Figure skaters need to block out all distractions so they can perform their routines flawlessly. At one point during Sunday's competition a skater slipped and fell because she looked up at the crowd after hearing her name called. She lost her focus. We religious women and men are called to give our all to the people of God.  For that to happen we must stay focused on Jesus and His mission.

Like St. Paul tells us, our crown is the gift of eternal life. "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith."

We may not be champion figure skaters, but we are champions in the light of Christ.  May you, too, see yourself as someone who has their eyes on the prize of Jesus.


Reflecting on Roe v. Wade

Monday, January 23, 2012

Zelten_Laura_Sister2012-100pxby Sister Laura Zelten

Today we remember the decision passed down by the Supreme Court in 1973.  I was a senior in high school at the time and can remember vividly when I heard the decision.  I was visiting the Sisters who were teaching at St. Jude School in Green Bay, Wis.  Sister Ambrose Nichols answered the door with the statement, "This is a terrible thing to happen in our country. We will live with this sin for a very long time."

I didn't fully understand at the time what she meant.  I do now and feel sorrow for the lives lost and for the men and women who have made the choice against life.  Mother Teresa once said, "What happens to a society who kills their children?"

May we never let our hearts become harden to the fact that life is a part of our throw-away culture; may we continue to promote life at all stages.  Let us pray that abortion will end and that all of life from conception to natural death will be cherished as God's gift.

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The prairie walk

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"It all started from a seed," kept running through my mind as a mantra while taking this extraordinary walk.  Yes, it is St. Francis Day and as a Franciscan it is a day of celebration.  So to celebrate I decided to take a walk.

At the Shalom Retreat Center in Dubuque, Iowa, there is a large prairie that surrounds the grounds.  It is former farmland that the Sisters have let revert to prairie for the last 15 years.  As I walked the path I saw so much beauty.  The fall flowers were in full bloom. The fields are filled with wild asters, golden rod, grasses and berries.  It was a field of purples, yellows, whites, and reds bordered by blue sky.  As I looked out from on top of the highest point it was like looking at a painting from Monet or Van Gogh. The colors ran together and created a beautiful watercolor.  All I could think of is that it started with a seed.  

As I end this summer season and begin to ponder fall and the coming of winter… what is the seed growing in my heart?  I am reminded in Scripture that the seed must die before it can be born again.  What is it that I must die to for new life to burst forth?

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