Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There’s No Place Like Home (Temporarily in Kansas, But Seeking a Permanent New Home)

Six novices began their great adventure in Concordia, Kansas today.  We had a full day of orientation.  We introduced ourselves to each other and spoke about our various roles.  Mine is small and I will be returning to St Louis on Thursday to the US Federation Office but I leave behind a novice from St Augustine, Watertown, Concordia and three novices from Canada.  These beginnings
Manna House in Concordia, Kansas
The site of the Federation Novitiate for the
next two years
all remind me of my novitiate with a happy lingering memory. We closed this day  by watching the Wizard of Oz together and I was struck by the symbolism.

This intense period of introspection, contemplative prayer, and discernment that we call the novitiate has a goal of helping a woman determine if she is called to be a Sister of St Joseph.  There are helpful classes and it’s great to have a group with whom to share this experience but ultimately it is a journey of discovery that requires great honesty with yourself.  I am sure that there are moments during this period in Kansas when these women will be reminded of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she says, “Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”  They will question, they will notice, they will see things that they never saw before.  It is disorienting and challenging.  
Sr. Donna Smith, one of the Canadian
Novices composed the prayer to
your left
One of the novices wrote a prayer:

Dear St Joseph as we
Enter into our calling
To follow in your Footsteps of Spirituality, please
Guide us as you guided
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
With a loving heart and
Helping hands.  Lead us
In our faith that we may
Find our true calling
Through you to God the
Almighty Creator.
May God Bless each and
Everyone of us as we
Journey deeper into our Calling. Amen

At the end of their time together just like the Tin Man speaking to Dorothy, they will know what they have found- and they will know in a new and profound way, the life to which they are called. 
Tin Woodsman: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Dorothy: Well, I - I think that it - it wasn't enough to just want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em - and it's that - if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Honoring Sr. Mock, CSJ

Sr. Marcia Allen (Concordia CSJ) introduces
 Sr. Janet to  begin the ceremony
The 2015 Outstanding Leadership Award at LCWR was presented to Sr. Janet Mock, a Sister of St Joseph of Baden at the annual banquet last night.  Before the award, I had a chance to speak with Janet Mock.  She shared, “I am humbled to accept this award in the name of the whole conference [LCWR].  We all went through this together. It called the great depths out of all of us.  It is one of the most blessed events of my life.”

On stage, Sr. Janet's image was
projected on two large screens
During the tribute to Janet, it was obvious how her statement above is consistent with how she has approached her whole life.  During the tribute, one reader noted that Janet lives out of a call much greater than herself.  She believes that team leaders draw forth the best of each member of their team.  For Janet, leadership is only done as a community of equals.  In describing Janet, words such as creative, courageous, exceptional warmth, disarming openness were used.  Her entrepreneurial spirit and keen insights into the needs of religious were proclaimed.  Janet is a model of grace who relentlessly presumes good intent on the part of all.

Well wishers lined up the length of the
ballroom to congratulate Janet
In speaking of LCWR during the award ceremony Janet noted, “it was a team that listened carefully to its members,”  characteristically deflecting the significant role that she played in helping LCWR navigate the waters of the CDF.

Janet and Eileen McCann (Albany)
after the award
We 74 Sisters of St Joseph were proud to be present for the honoring of one so deserving who stepped up at such a critical time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Being at LCWR

I asked a few of our leaders what It means for them to be at LCWR.  Sr. Brenda Lau (Hawaii) shared, "It's a key source for meeting religious across the US and from other countries.  It is a union of sisters interested in carrying out the mission for the world.  For me, it is refreshing to return to these gatherings as a leader again."

Sr. Jeannie Masterson
Sr. Jeannie Masterson (Congregation of St Joseph) said, "I appreciate the networking, support, and collaboration to use our power together.  We draw inspiration from one another."

Sr. Pat Mahoney
Sr. Pat Mahoney (Brentwood) said, "The conversations among and between us in the context of the contemplative setting provided  us with a focus for essential exchange."

Sr. Jean Rosemarynoski (Concordia) offered, "It broadens the overview of religious life in the US.  The diversity from different regions, the networking opportunities, sharing of ideas and program information that we can use, the inspirational speakers, all recharge our batteries."

Sr. Katie Eiffe at LCWR Assembly 2015
Sr. Katie Eiffe (Carondelet- Albany) offered "We are being called to learn from our experience and move forward in service to God and the church."