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?

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