Friday, April 6, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
As I reflect on these 3 days of Triduum, I believe they give us
a template for living religious life.
- Holy Thursday for me is about being of service
to others. The washing of the feet continues to call me to a
deeper reflection on how as "Sister" I am called to give my gifts
for others. The institution of the Eucharist reminds me that
I am blessed, broken and shared for the life of Church.
- Good Friday is about putting all my trust in
God's way, even when I am not sure of the outcome.
- Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday remind me that like
Mary Magdalene in the garden … be open to God calling my name and
turning towards the gift of new life.
May this Easter season bless you with peace.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
|Station 7 - Jesus falls a second time.
by Sister Laura Zelten
How many times have I prayed the Way of the Cross? I
remember the times as a small child in grade school that during
Lent the entire student body would go to church every Friday
afternoon to pray the way of the cross together. As a family
we would go on Sunday afternoons during Lent to pray with the
While I was ministering in Nicaragua the Stations became real to
me. Living with my brothers and sisters who could relate to
the sufferings of Jesus made me understand oppression in a very
true sense of the word. On Good Friday the whole town would
gather to pray the Way of the Cross. It would take about three
hours in the heat of midday. Hundreds of people would walk
the streets praying and singing Jesus' walk to Calvary.
The Way of the Cross is a guide for our heart or a blueprint for
expressing our response to what happens in our world today.
They offer us counsel on how to walk with dignity and grace as we
compassionately respond to the needs of our times.
As a design for life, the Way of the Cross can offer us a
pattern for life that will afford us a way to walk with integrity
and grace in the midst of a world where injustice, violence and
We walk the Way of the Cross to the death of Jesus but we do not
stop with death. We go to the tomb where we experience the
power of the Resurrection.
During this Lenten season as you pray the Way of the Cross may
you experience the Jesus as our brother and liberator from death to
Friday, February 17, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
|Katie, Sister Laura and Stella out for a stroll.
I am so excited for the season of Lent to begin. This is
one of my favorite times in the Church year.
It is a gift in the middle of the bleak winter to take time for
prayer and strengthen one's relationship with God. The Church
offers us so many good examples of how we can spend these 40 days.
We can take part in parish activities such as Bible studies,
morning Mass, or the Sunday afternoon Stations of the Cross.
How many times have you been asked, "What are you giving up for
Lent?" Ten years ago my friend Katie and I started a morning
walk for our Lenten intention. Can you believe we haven't
it our morning walk yet? TEN YEARS … how many miles … how
Families can and do have their Lenten traditions. As a
child I loved Lent. Mom would go to early morning Mass and on
the way home would stop to pick up chocolate milk and sweet rolls
for breakfast. Or Dad would bring home smoked fish for
This year for Lent I have decided to use Bishop Robert Morneau's
Lenten Reflection Book, "Not By Bread Alone." (paperback | eBook). This little treasure has a reflection
for every day of Lent. What are you going to do for your
Lenten intention this year?
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.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Follow that star!
When we think of the month of January, we often feel let down
after the glitter and sparkle of the holidays. But before we can
completely put away the decorations, finish up the parties and
thank-you notes, resolve to drop a few pounds and settle into
snow-covered roads and cold and dark nights, the stars of the
season shine forth.
The January calendar reminds us of stars who have brightened the
horizons of our lives with curiosity and wisdom, with courage and
determination, with self-sacrifice and simplicity. Stars of hope
and warmth these cold January days are: Mary the Mother of
God, the Magi of Matthew's Gospel, St. John Neumann, St. Paul, St.
Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther King Jr. and St. Elizabeth Ann
May the celebration of the Epiphany on Jan. 8 and all the Saints
of January give you reason for hope and happiness!
Monday, December 5, 2011
by Sister Laura Zelten
My mother was great for celebrating the not-so-big
holidays. I remember her always calling upstairs in the
morning reminding us of why the coming day was special. It
could be Ground Hog Day, the first day of a season, Mardi Gras,
April Fools, or Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
I have fond memories around the feast of St. Nick. The
night of Dec. 5 after supper my three sisters and I would begin to
prepare our socks. We always wanted my Dad's socks. We
thought the bigger the sock the more we would receive. We
would make sure we had our name on our respective sock. There
was no way we wanted St. Nick to mix them up.
Isn't funny that I don't remember the type of candy we found but
I do remember there was always a popcorn ball wrapped in red or
green cellophane, a tangerine, and peanuts in the shell, a candy
cane and a small gift. My gift was usually a box of crayons
-- the big 64 box -- and a coloring book. I was so happy to
see all those new and unbroken crayons. I would look for the
unusual colors like periwinkle. The tangerine never made it
Now I remember the love my Mom had for us by knowing especially
what each of her daughters liked. How happy she was to see us
that morning discovering the treasures in my Dad's socks.
On this feast of St. Nicholas what are the mysteries that lie
deep with in your heart? How to share God's radical
generosity with others? Blessings on your day.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Happy Birthday, Aaron Rodgers!
Stories about Tim Tebow's faith and how you live yours caught my
attention. It is evident in Green Bay that you are a person
who trusts in God. You care about others and are willing to
share yourself and your good fortune with others. You are a
gentleman on the field and off, even taking time to throw the ball
with kids in your neighborhood. You are unassuming. This is
important to note when in the news we hear of athletes who are all
about showmanship or are being fined for unsportsmanlike
You mentioned in a recent interview that you model your
Christian faith by the words of St. Francis: "Preach the Gospel at
all times; when necessary use words."
This is a great quote, very Franciscan in its spirit, but not
literally from St. Francis. The thought is his; this catchy
phrasing is not in his writings or in the earliest biographies
In Chapter XVII of his Rule of 1221, Francis told the friars not
to preach unless they had received the proper permission to do so.
Then he added, "Let all the brothers, however, preach by their
Whether Francis said it or not isn't the point. The
importance of the phrase for me is how I live the Gospel. Am
I, like St. Francis, concerned for the poor, faithful to the
Church, and willing to give up all for the sake of Christ?
So happy birthday and thank you for shining some of your
spotlight on our Patron Saint, Francis. During this Advent
time, I am again reminded to "Preach the gospel at all times; when
necessary use words."
-- Sister Laura Zelten
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Those who use Facebook no doubt noticed a number of friends
posting daily notices (marked as "Day 1," "Day 2," etc.) this
month, identifying specific things and people in their lives for
which they are grateful.
In this season of giving thanks and preparing for Christmas,
tens of thousands of people -- whether on Facebook or elsewhere --
are consciously stopping long enough each day to discern and write
down at least one thing for which they are grateful.
The Facebook event is designed to remind us just how blessed we
are, no matter what, how much for which we have to be thankful.
The "Attitude of Gratitude" movement has erupted on Facebook.
Oprah Winfrey has featured the attitude of gratitude on more than
one of her shows, especially during her final year
It is interesting to see how many people jump on the Facebook
event or buy a book on the subject because others are doing
it. But don't we do it every day in some little way?
Sometimes when I find it hard to fall asleep at night I try to
think of 5 things I am grateful for from the day. They are
personal and they are different every time, but no matter how
difficult things seem, there is always something for which to be
grateful. This spiritual exercise always has a calming
Gratitude is easy when life is good. But when life is not
so good, when we are suffering, gratitude for anything in life is
harder to see. And we might need someone to help us find
things to be grateful for.
Praying, reading scripture, saying a mantra or silently
meditating work to dissolve heaviness in the heart. It takes time;
it takes patience; and it takes gratitude.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude -- for one's family, for
one's career or for a sunny day -- makes you focus on God's many
blessings. There is so much more than one blessing a
day, and it is not just a November thing. The practice of gratitude
makes happy people. It is a part of our faith and hopefully
it is my attitude all the time.
Peace and all good -- Sister Laura
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
As I look out my window I see the last leaves
hanging on a tree. The wind is blowing and they seem to be
determined not to be swept away. Or the pine tree that is
still green and praising God with its branches held high.
I do love all seasons but autumn seems to hold a special
treasure. The beauty it holds with the many colors and stark
changes. I like to see autumn as God's in-between time.
The summer activities have finished, we have returned to a routine
and are waiting for that first snowfall.
I ask myself … how do I see God in all of life's changes?
Can I be open to seeing God in all seasons and events? And like the
tree with the determined leaves … what am I afraid to let go