Last week Friday, Kathy, Bee Jay Ciszek and myself flew to Wichita for Susanne Daniel's final vows. We went a bit early because there was a surprise birthday party for Karen Salsberry. Happy 40th KAREN!!!!! It was a great gathering of probably 25 people from 6 different community (if you separate the 7 of us for a moment, take some and add a few other communities). Ann Letourneau provided a prayer after dinner and all of us sat in a big circle and blessed, with grateful hearts, the life of Karen. I felt so much energy in that circle from God and from our community of hearts!
One of the novices that will be joining me in California is 25 year old, Julie Christensen from Concordia. For about 8 months now Julie and I have been talking through emails and over the phone but had never met each other. We shared pictures of each other over the internet and were able to share community living through the eyes of the 25 year olds. Since Concordia is only 2 hour north of Wichita, I encouraged her to come in and visit but it didn't seem like it was going to happen because of her schedule at the time. While we were eating dinner at Karen's party, there were sisters asking me about the 7 novices that I was going to be with and in walks Julie through the kitchen. My mouth fell WIDE open as I pointed at her in disbelief! What a great surprise for me. I wonder if the evening was more of a surprise for me than Karen? So now out of the 7 other novices, I've met 6 six so I'm not so apprehensive about the idea of "meeting new people and living with them".
Since my last post, Sister Peter Mary from LaGrange died. The communal heart in LaGrange remains heavy after her funeral today. I was able to thank God for her life as well when I was invited to help sing in the choir at her funeral. The LaGrange community continues to carry on their tradition of gathering in the chapel the evening before the funeral to share stories of their experience with the deceased. Some of the stories shared lifts spirits by showing the humorous side of life (in this case) with Peter Mary and others show the human side and the occasion where God made God's self completely visible in the moment... these are the ones that the kleenex comes out on. I never sat down with Peter Mary to talk but I definitely think I have a great picture of her from the sharing. She was all about vocation and formation work. In fact, Kathy, who worked with her in that capacity said that when she visited Peter Mary once in the hospital, she mentioned, "The new novice is here". Peter responded, "Oh yeah, Jenn." It's nice to know that even though we didn't know each other well that she still was involved in the vocation/formation news of the community. I feel as if I have another one to pray to look out for me on my journey. Rest in peace, Peter, may we continue to hear your contagious laugh when we start to take life too seriously.
Only a short period of time before I'm on the plane to California. Before that time, I'll be visiting my family once last time and will need to find the time to pack. I had a dream last night, I was starting to pack my suitcases and decided that I would watch a movie with a friend. I fell asleep watching the movie and when I woke up we were really late to catch the plane. I started saying, "But I have to finish packing! One suitcase is packed but the other one's only half packed." I almost started to cry because all of this was too rushed for me. Then someone said, "Forget it, zip it up and let's go! We have to go!" So off I went crying with half a suitcase packed. I shared this story with Kathy Sherman today and she said, "That's just God telling you that you have everything that you need already," as she pointed to her chest. Thanks Kathy! She's so right, then I came home and read today's gospel:
A young man approached Jesus and said,“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?There is only One who is good.If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”He asked him, “Which ones?”And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;you shall not commit adultery;you shall not steal;you shall not bear false witness;honor your father and your mother;and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”The young man said to him,“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,sell what you have and give to the poor,and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,for he had many possessions.
Wow, wake up Jenn! It's funny what God can teach you through a dream if you pay attention!
Peace to each of you!