Tuesday, January 28, 2014
by 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
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.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
by 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
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.
Monday, January 23, 2012
by 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.
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