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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Serenity

These days are so quiet and peaceful that I have decided that summer serenity has set in and I love it. I am really not being productive, but maybe more contemplative. It is just such a joy to have time to be.
One of my directees yesterday was telling me about her retreat. She said that she now would not ask "What would Jesus do?" without also asking "How would Jesus do it?"
How would Jesus enjoy this quiet? I suspect He would use it both for prayer and for reaching out to others. Relationships are so important and I think when we are older we need to be sure we stay in touch with relatives and friends. One good thing about having lived in Miami so long is having friends here, although some of my favorite people have moved away. Still, one needs to make the effort to keep in touch even if a friend lives down the street.
I shall make a list of friends to call or write and maybe this summer serenity will also deepen friendships. I am just grateful for these quiet days! I hope others are enjoying some summer serenity, too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Open heart

Although I hope to get back to work by August 1 on the book I keep saying I want to write about the life of one of our pioneer Religious, I am enjoying these days with time to read and swim and cook and clean. It is a mystery to me how much I have accumulated in my nearly thirty years in Miami. I just have too much - too many papers, books, clothes, trinkets that I have been given, etc. I am quite neat and orderly. but just have too much! I can help some one else clear out, but find I take forever to do my own things. I am writing about this as I suspect there are others out there with the same problem.

I am enjoying cooking and inventing new recipes. I like having company and so have invited friends as this is also a distraction for the one community member who is home undergoing the many weeks of chemotherapy.

I have so much to be grateful for and rejoice each day in all the good things that God has given me, is giving me, and His Love is everlasting! Let us rejoice with an open heart and mind.

This is a double post today as I also finished up the skills and that was posted.

Seek Growth, not perfection

              7.  Perfection is a long-term goal, and certainly we need to keep our eyes on that horizon. But today, can I try to grow and be at peace with the growth. I may not have been perfect today, but did I learn and grow towards it? 
8. Learn to communicate effectively. It is important for me  to gain an increasingly enriched vocabulary - name and understand the things that I am experiencing- and to share those experiences with others in communion.
 9. Make your life an act of love. Being "for others" takes me out of myself. my pettiness, my self-concern, and inflames my heart with joy.
10. Make prayer a constant companion during your day. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel -  the God with us. He is with us throughout the day - let us be aware, in awe, and grateful. He is the "Bread come down from heaven." For us as a people of faith, constant prayer points to a Eucharistic spirituality. No matter the ups and downs of the transitions in my life, Jesus in the Eucharist is the constant, for He is "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
These are the skills listed by Monsignor Carruthers that help our lives unfold.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More skills for our life unfolding...

These skills make sense to me but we need to cultivate them!

4.  Fulfill your needs for relaxation, exercise, and nourishment. I must seek balance in my life. If these basic needs are not being met, other areas will be off.                                   

5. Learn to enjoy life. This is a conscious decision. It is a choice. Some people choose to sit and stew. Others choose to make the best of the moment and enjoy.

6. Stretch out of your comfort zone. Each day, can I stretch my heart a bit, allowing for growth?

Again. I think that is enough to reflect on today and I am convinced that God wants us to enjoy life and a great deal depends on our attitude so let us make the best of the moment and enjoy.

These were a continuation of the skills given yesterday from "The Desk of Monsignor Carruthers

Monday, July 27, 2015

As our lives unfold...

Here are a few skills that help us as our lives continue to unfold. I have taken them from the page the pastor writes in the Parish Bulletin called "From the Desk of Monsignor Carruthers" and it is an old entry reprinted last week:
He begins by saying that our lives continue to unfold and we must enter into moments of transition and then gives skills to help us:

1. Honestly accept where you are on your journey today. To move forward I have to be honest about where I am today. I am not where I am going, and I am not where I was yesterday. I cannot pretend to be where I am not. To move forward in life I must first be honest with where I am.

2. Accept responsibility for your life. There are things that are beyond my control, but I have the power over how I respond to those things. I cannot blame anyone else for that -- that is on me and I must take responsibility for it.

3. Learn to be a good-finder. I must make a conscious effort to see the good that is before me, receive it, and be grateful for it. To focus on complaints only fills me with bitterness and blinds me to the good. Go through the day counting the blessings of the moment.

I will continue with the skills he suggests, but feel these are more than enough for today to reflect on. I guess the first is the most difficult for me. Where am I in this unfolding life?

Third Day of Retreat on Community

It was nice to have two of my community making the retreat with me. Most of the day on community was spent, at least by me, in praying over what one of our latest documents, "Life Unfolding...". says about community. It is a formation booklet, but we are all in formation all our lives. Community is the place where we are called by God to live as sisters...our life together is a gift and a process that invites us to constant is the central place of our formation.
We are also called to help one another take care of the quality of our relationship with Jesus. It
Community is where I am called to serve with joy. I want others to accept me as I am and I am called to accept each as she is. There is a real value in living in community and I am grateful that I have always been in community. I experience the joy of living and celebrating together with my sisters - I think I need to look for more ways to show my gratitude and appreciation and continue to share my vulnerability with my sisters.
Then, we all form part of other communities and I think the same joy comes from celebrating with others - family, groups, colleagues. and the Provincial community which is quite large!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Commentary

God is not the kind of being that can be seen with the eyes, and small account is taken of the miracles by which he rules the entire universe and governs all creation because they recur so regularly. Scarcely anyone bothers to consider God’s marvelous, his amazing artistry in every tiny seed.

And so certain works are excluded from the ordinary course of nature, works which God in his mercy has reserved for himself, so as to perform them at appropriate times. People who hold cheap what they see every day are dumbfounded at the sight of extraordinary works even though they are no more wonderful than the others.

Text Box:   There was power in the hands of Christ.Governing the entire universe is a greater miracle than feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread, yet no one marvels at it. People marvel at the feeding of the five thousand not because this miracle is greater, but because it is out of the ordinary.

Who is even now providing nourishment for the whole world if not the God who creates a field of wheat from a few seeds? Christ did what God does.

Just as God multiplies a few seeds into a whole field of wheat, so Christ multiplied the five loaves in his hands. For there was power in the hands of Christ.

Those five loaves were like seeds, not because they were cast on the earth but because they were multiplied by the one who made the earth.

This miracle was presented to our senses in order to stimulate our minds; it was put before our eyes in order to engage our understanding, and so make us marvel at the God we do not see because of his works which we do see.

For then, when we have been raised to the level of faith and purified by faith, we shall long to behold, though not with our eyes, the invisible God whom we recognize through what is visible.

This miracle was performed for the multitude to see; it was recorded for us to hear.

Faith does for us what sight did for them. We behold with the mind what our eyes cannot see; and we are preferred to them because of us it was said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” St. Augustine

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Interior Life - thoughts from the retreat

This is the entrance to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I was drawn to think again about some of the really great educators that I had in high school as a weekly boarder there. I also realized how holy they must of been as I certainly thought that they were all united to Jesus and thinking of Him when not actually in the classroom. I still feel the disappointment I felt when I entered; union with Jesus is not automatic. He is always with us, but I still am so forgetful of His Presence. Fortunately, retreat is a time to renew my desire to live united to Jesus and I know that the desire comes from Him. We just need to let Him love us!

Keeping a Journal is one way I see how the Lord works in my life; a monthly summary and being accountable to a spiritual director is another way to see how the Lord has been leading me - maybe often having to push me, but always with such love and tenderness. My favorite image is being carried as the Good Shepherd carried the strayed lamb home.

Today is my nephew's birthday and he is doing so much for the poor and is such a wonderful leader for St. Vincent de Paul out there in California.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sharing some of my retreat

God is always surprising me. When on the plane going to retreat we ran into a storm but I was hearing the most beautiful symphony music that somehow was being picked up by my hearing aids that I felt so relaxed and at peace. It seemed to me that God was giving me this gift (still a mystery as to where that music was coming from) to lead me into retreat. It gave me real joy and I kept thinking about this on the first day of retreat. Swimming in the large indoor pool each day also gave me joy during the retreat and seemed to bring back the surprise of the music.
Here are a few of my notes from the first day of retreat:
Prayer helps me to deepen my relationship with God. Because prayer is the expression of a personal relationship with God, it is unique for each of us. St. Madeleine Sophie gave us great freedom. She said, "What difference does it make how you pray, provided your heart is seeking the one whom you love."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sharing my retreat

Pallotine Retreat House in Florissant, Missouri.


Chapel at the retreat center in Florissant.
I usually sat it the first chair in the first row on the right.
It was a very prayerful Chapel and I loved just sitting there with Jesus.
The tabernacle is on the left and not shown in this picture.
The first day of the retreat was all on prayer and the interior life and I just wanted to be quiet and be with Jesus. I did take a few notes and here is one of my thoughts: "I have come to know that the interior life is more exciting than exterior life and is a source of joy for us."

The Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at St. Charles

I had just finished writing a blog about sharing on the first day of retreat and it disappeared when I hit publish. So I will use these pictures instead to tell you about the how much it meant to me to be able to pray again at the tomb of Philippine. We filled the Shrine for the Mass on the first day of the assembly and it was a beautiful liturgy - our newly named vocation director is from Canada and she planned all the Liturgies and prayer services for our Assembly/Chapter. Her attention to detail was really extraordinary and all went well. More than well - each time for prayer was so beautiful and the songs and readings so well-chosen that this contributed to the prayerful atmosphere of the whole Assembly/Chapter. I also loved the drums!
Tomorrow I shall continue to share from the Hearts on Fire II Retreat. It seems that the same four RSCJs gave the first Hearts on Fire retreat several years ago for 35 and this time we were 85!
Here is one thought from my first day of retreat which was all on Prayer and the Interior Life. I have discovered that the interior life is more interesting than the exterior life. I actually wrote more "exciting" in my notes and it is the source of our joy. I really believe this, but I am far from living the interior life of union with the Heart of Jesus that I rather naively thought would be automatic once I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Prayer request and pictures

This is a picture of the old convent at Florissant where Philippine lived. During the Assembly we had Mass at her shrine in St. Charles. It is always a grace for me to return there as I was a weekly boarder during high school and received my vocation there. Of course, the shrine had not been built and we visited Philippine's tomb each evening in the tiny chapel in front of the convent.

Do pray for one of my community who has just started 16 weeks of chemotherapy; there will just be the two of us home for the next three weeks so I hope I can be a good caregiver as this is a hard time for her. She is just recovered from her back operation in March and still needs to have a hip operation after she has the cancer surgery and radiation so that will probably be January for her hip and it is painful!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Back on the Blog

We came home Sunday night from the retreat and the Province Assembly/Chapter and I spent yesterday just getting back to normal life. The retreat was great - a good talk by one of the four who made up the Retreat Team years ago for the first "Hearts on Fire" retreat. There was prayer and the talk at 9:00 each morning followed by silent prayer until 4:45 Liturgy (one day we had a holy hour and another day the Sacrament of Reconciliation with three priests).  The first night we had a prayer that asked us why we had come to the retreat and what were our expectations. I realized that I not only wanted to be there praying with 85 other RSCJs, but I was looking forward to eight days of silence to just be with Jesus; it was also a good preparation for the Assembly/Chapter as I had time to discern and pray over our recent formation booklet and the Constitutions.

The first day was all on Prayer and the Interior Life as St. Madeleine Sophie was convinced that both were essential for the Society of the Sacred Heart. On the second day we spent the morning at the old convent in Florissant where St. Philippine Duchesne lived in the tiny cubbyhole under the stairs. We had a talk on simplicity and our mission and we were able to visit all three floors of the convent and the museum before heading back - this was a highlight of the retreat and I not only felt closer to Philippine, but renewed my determination to write the life of Lucile Mathevon who came from France who was a pupil at Grenoble and received as a novice there when Philippine was head of the school and in charge of the house. When Philippine left for America in 1818, Lucile made her final profession and had to wait until 1821 to set out for America with Xavier Murphy. Lucile then lived with Philippine at the same convent in Florissant until Philippine left her in charge of the house in 1827 when Philippine opened the City House in St. Louis. So, Florissant has rekindled my desire to write the life of Lucile!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July

Fourth of July means feeling very American - freedom is such a gift! Having lived in a dictatorship in Chile for several years, I feel I really understand how fortunate we are to be living in a free country. I deplore the amount of money that is now spent on a political campaign, but I am proud of the fact that we do elect our officials. If all would work for the common good, we would be so much better off in this country where we still have so many who live in poverty.
The 4th is a day to celebrate our liberty; it is also a day that many begin vacation. I am going to do that this year so know that my blog may appear  (if I am inspired) but mostly I will be taking a few weeks off. I do ask prayers for the retreat, July 7-15 and then the Assembly/Chapter of the United States/Canada Province from July 15-19.
Have a good month and enjoy life! Remember that when we are grateful, we are happy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Wind


Sometimes the wind is gentle; we call it a breeze.
Sometimes it comes with hurricane force; we take shelter and wait for it to die down. Here is a short poem by my friend and fellow Religious of the Sacred Heart, Carol Bialock:

The wind asks for nothing--
It sweeps in,
sweeps clean,

God, you are the wind
and an always new beginning.

June was supposed to be our rainy month but this year it seems July will bring the afternoon showers that blow in and then blow away.
I think we can always find a spiritual reflection when contemplating the wind. The Holy Spirit is often symbolized by the rush of the wind.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Growing old

Some days one feels older than others. I must confess that I now wake up and just want to lie in bed instead of jumping up and feeling the Lord is waiting for me to pray. I think He is just giving me more time and waits patiently while I collect myself and, finally, roll out of bed. Since this is a day when I think 84 is old, let me share another of Carol Bialock's poems:

Song for an Old Woman

It is not my fault that I am holy,
It is all God's doing.
When I wasn't looking he tricked me onto the path,
Knocked me off balance
So that I gasped for help,
And threw me onto my knees.
How could I help it that I landed
On Paradise Road?

The Gospel yesterday had Jesus sleeping in the boat when the storm comes up and frightens the Apostles so that they wake Jesus up.
He immediately stills the wind and waves. I do not even need to wake Him as He is always watching over me. What a grace to know that He is all-powerful and He loves us with an infinite love!