Sunday, September 28, 2008

Consensus Statement Reflections

As I was thinking about class this week, I thought that I would share with you some of the questions that we had regarding it in case you would like to reflect on them yourself. We had this class with Bernie and Ann but they had a video presentation from Leonie Shanley who broke down each part of the Consensus Statement and went deeper into it's meaning:

Stimulated by the Holy Spirit of Love
and receptive to the Spirit's inspirations

The Sister of Saint Joseph moves always towards
profound love of God
love of neighbor without distinction

from whom she does not separate herself
from whom, in the following of Christ
she works in order to achieve unity
both of neighbor with neighbor
and neighbor with God
directly in this apostolate
indirectly through works of charity

in humility - the spirit of the Incarnate Word
Philippians 2:5-11

in sincere charity (cordiale charité) - the manner of
Saint Joseph whose name she bears

in an Ignatian-Salesian climate: this is,

with an orientation towards excellence
(Le dépassement, le plus)

tempered by gentleness (douceur), peace, joy

Reflection -
1. How is the Spirit calling me to move?
2. What neighbor or kind of neighbor do I struggle to love?
3. How do I work to achieve Unity?
4. What do I need to empty myself of in order to be filled with God?
5. When have I experienced someone treating me "in the manner of St. Joseph"? What did they do and how did I feel?
6. Who in my life seeks excellence and is able to temper it with gentleness, peace and joy? Or, when have I found myself living in this way.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Time Spent Wisely Part II

So now for Thursday - Sunday.
Thursday is our Ministry Day. We all split up for an experience at different ministry sites that have been made available to us. We prayer in the morning and then go on our own. Bridget helps out at Mary's Kitchen. Andrea is an assistant in the 2nd grade room at St. Joseph School. Karen and Lynn speak with kids in Juvenile Hall. Julie and Thuy are at the L'Arche community. Lastly, Melissa and myself are at Thomas House. I'll do a post one day just about Thomas House but all the ministry sites were explained in a previous post titled "Transitioning and Re-orientating Myself". Many of our ministries occur after lunch, like for Melissa and I, we get to Thomas House around 2pm and leave around 8. That leaves a good amount of the day before hand to catch up on things. I usually spend that time writing my weekly reflection paper (all of ours are due on Sunday)talking about what we took away from the class that week. I also catch up on reading material, emails and letters, go to Mass, lunch and then it's about time to go. In the past when novices got back from their ministries on Thursday nights, they would get together for prayer that evening and sharing Theological Reflections. This year has been a bit different since many of us get back late and wouldn't have sufficient time to reflect and get the written portion done. So we do this sharing on Friday night after dinner.

For those of you that are wondering what Theological Reflection is, this is the breakdown we use:
1. Story: Share a story of an experience that took place during your ministry experience that day
2. Charism/Scripture Relation: Connect your story to a Scripture passage or a quote that expresses the CSSJ charism - such as something that you may have learned in class
3. Image/Symbol: a representation of this event that may come during prayer
4. Call: What is God calling me to personally? How can I apply this lesson in my own life/prayer life?

Friday is our prayer day. It's a day of silence until the evening meal that we share together. We are free to spend our day with God wherever we find the Spirit's direction. Today I spent my morning reading and journaling, reflecting on some of the events of the week. I went to Mass at 11 and ate lunch outside. I had planned to go to the beach to be with the waves but decided to stick close to home, I sat outside for quite a while, went to the pool, looked over the daily readings again and continued reading a good that I started awhile ago "The Feminine Face of God" to name a few things. We ate together at about 5:30 and shared our Theological Reflections. Usually the night is free on Friday but tonight John Dear, the Jesuit peace activist was at the Center for Spiritual Development and a group of us went to hear him speak. Sometimes speeches like that make you feel so small!

Saturday is a self-care day. This is when I choose to do my charge, my laundry, and any shopping that I have to do. Usually, Andrea and I go to Mass at 5 at St. Norbert's which is 15 minutes away. I thought it a good idea to get an outside experience of church community while in the novitiate which is at times closed in. Helps me remember that there are other believers out there and maintain that connection.

Sunday is usually a free day until dinner. We share dinner together and afterward have Sharing the State of the Heart together weekly.

So I hope this gives you a glimpse into the novitiate weekly life. You can count on us doing these things week in and week out. Usually my posts from now on will pick out a certain happening from class or ministry or else pick something that's happened out of the ordinary to keep you up to date.
Thanks to all of you who read this. I know that some post comments, others don't but I thank you for your interest and most of all your thoughts and prayers!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Time Spent Wisely

Well finally we're on the normal schedule. It's taken us a while to get there. I've almost been here a month and it's taken us that long to get into the routine. Orientation is now over, we're all set with our ministry sites and our intercommunity schedule is straightened out. I was waiting until this point to give all of you an idea of our time here because I wasn't sure about it until I started living it.

This post, I'll focus on Monday - Wednesday and tell you about the other days another time.

Monday is our intercommunity day. We had our first one this week. We usually get together in the Los Angeles area, about 45 minutes away from 9:45 - 3 pm at the motherhouse that belongs to the Lovers of the Holy Cross. The program is supposed to be for novices but it's envolved into pre-candidates through 1st and 2nd year novices. There are about 40 of us plus all the directors. Each week there is a new speaker. This week Kathy Bryant, rsc joined us to talk about "God's Will and Our Desire". She focused mainly on the ideas of consolation and desolation and on Ignatian spirituality which fit all the CSJs present. The rest of this month we have:
Linda Buck, csj (Orange) - Family of Origin
Carol Quinlivan, csj - Journaling and Prayer (this will take place that the Orange CSJs place near Seal Beach)
Mondays we also have prayer together (which we all take turns leading) at 8am and after dinner. We have dinner together which we volunteer to cook for as well. We have our own kitchen and living space on 3rd floor that the 10 of us share. And after dinner and prayer each evening, we're free to relax it whatever way comes to us.

Tuesday and Wednesday look similar to each other. We pray at 8:30 and after dinner together. This is when a CSSJ speaker comes in for a few days to have class with us on their area of expertise. This week we had Paula Drass from Baden come to talk to us about the Charism and the Two Trinities. Class usually runs from 9-3 with breaks for reflection, Mass at 11 and lunch. (Lunch is provided downstairs in the dining room everyday with the sisters if we're around) Each week we are required to write a paper due on Sundays in which we talk about our reflections from this 2-day class time. Some people hate the papers, but I don't mind and even enjoy it because it allows me to get all my thoughts down on paper and process better. This reflection paper is only required to go to our director here.
This month we'll also spend this 2-day period talking about:
Ann and Bernie - Consensus Statement
Mary Ann Mulzet (Philadelphia?) - Prayer and Ritual

So that's how our time is well spent on Monday - Wednesday. Hope it helps give you an idea of the novitiate life. More to come...

If you have any questions for me ever or ideas about what you'd like to see on this blog, leave a comment and let me know!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

#1 Song this Weekend

Yesterday after a day on Hollywood Blvd. we went to the Hollywood Bowl with about 35 Carondelet sisters. We saw Brian Wilson in concert. I didn't realize that it wasn't all the Beach Boys we were seeing and someone said that the others died.

Thought you'd like to listen to the #1 of the novices last night. Make sure your speakers are on and hit the triangle button to play!

Sloop John B - The Beach Boys

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fall is Here!

Fall is officially in California! Ellen DeGeneres announced on her show yesterday that it's official that Autumn has started in California since the temperature has fallen 2 degrees!!!!! You've GOT to be kidding me... I just laugh at all the folks that are bundling up already!

What a busy week! Last time I wrote, I was on my way to the overnight Intercommunity-Novitiate (ICN) retreat. We were joined by about 7 others communities: many Saleians, Lovers of the Holy Cross - a Vietnamese order and Claretian brothers are some that I remember. Many of the Saleians seemed like they were right out of high school and with about 40 people in the whole ICN group, less than 50% were actually novices. Seems confusing based on the title, huh? The 3 Claretians along with the 10 of us were the only ones in everyday clothes. The other 30 or so were in uniforms and habits. I was able to have some quiet prayer time but overall didn't get too much out of the presentations themselves. Every week on Monday we meet with the same group and have different speakers. This coming Monday we have Kathy Bryant, rsc talking about "God's Will and Our Desire". It seems from the comments that people have made that this program as a whole is very introductory but I know that I'll still be able to find a thread that I can hang onto for the day that applies to life as I know it.

This week we had class with Bernie and Ann on Tuesday and the building coordinator saw us on Wednesday to talk about earthquake safety. Many of the novices were glad to finally have talked about that. I'll just put it all in God's hands and pray that I don't fall into the ocean while I'm here. (Some sisters actually told me that they'd pray for that reason while I'm here!)

Wednesday afternoon was free so 5 of us went to Huntington Beach for the first time. Definitely different than Seal Beach. It's the surfer's beach and we saw quite a few. We even saw some folks that choose to be homeless, live on the beach and out of their Winnebago, and just surf... all day. As much as I like the beach, I can't say that I'd like to be homeless for it. The breeze was amazing sitting there as I read and relaxed. I didn't go there yesterday for prayer day because it was a bit cloudy but I think that I'll be going many Fridays. #1 Beach: Huntington.... maybe I'll make a Top Ten list while I'm here!

Thursday was our first ministry day. I chose to go to Thomas House, two apartment buildings which are used for transitional housing for families. Both Melissa and I chose to go there but I'll be working with Kathy Stein, who's a CSJ from Carondelet - LA and the manager of Thomas House. It's not officially a religious organization because of being able to get more grants, but they do call her Sister. I'll be helping Kathy with the computer records for graduates of the program from about 2-5pm. At 5, the parents go to their parenting class on Thursday night and all of the kids 30+ go to a room to finish homework before going outside to play. So I think it's a good mix and yet will be a challenge for me.

Yesterday was a prayer day but I wish I had another today! Instead, we're leaving at 10:30 to go to LA. We're going to Hollywood since last time it didn't work out. I'm not sure what the plan has worked out to be but I'll update you next week. The reason we decided to go is that we were invited to something called the Hollywood Bowl. It's a summer concert series that takes place outside in Hollywood. Tonight Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys are here. YAY!!! Beach Boys in California!!! So we have to be at the Carondelet center by 5 to get the bus with the rest of the sisters. I think since Carondelet are co-hosts of this Fed. Novitiate that we'll be doing a few things like this with them. Don't worry I'll take lots of pictures!

Thanks to all for the cards and emails. Even though I give you the highlights on here of all the happenings, there has been plenty of free time, settling time, and God time. These highlights are my breaks from the internal work. Thanks for sending the prayers, love and letters that help me keep my head above water when things start getting deep here. Peace!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Note of New Experiences and Wake up Calls

This afternoon we're off to Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino for an overnight retreat on prayer. It's the first time that we'll be with the Inter-Congregational Novitiate Program. We'll be meeting with them every Monday for a speaker but it seems that they are starting this year off with a retreat. Should be a good couple of days so I'll update you when I come back.

I'd also like to update you on the different ministry sites that we visited this week but I think that's going to have to wait until next time as well.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a poem by Hafiz that made me laugh but also made me think about my own openness toward the year ahead.

Hafiz – A Divine Invitation

You have been invited to meet
The Friend

No one can resist a Divine Invitation.

That narrows down all our choices
To just two:

We can come to God
Dressed for Dancing,


Be carried on a stretcher
To God’s Ward.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Transitioning and Re-orientating Myself

Well I've survived a bit more than a week of novitiate. Some people say, "Well yeah Jenn, you're in California! Tough life, huh?" But actually, it does take a lot of getting used to. First of all, the pace is different. I haven't lived with people my age for 4 years. After a while you get used to living with sisters that are 40 years or so older than you. It's different because usually I have so much energy but there's no one around me to expend that energy. Now there's an abundance. It's not a bad thing on either side, just something else to get used to.

It feels quite different being in California also because normally I would be beginning a new school year and would have my classroom set up by now. I knew that it was time to move on and I think that God's got me in the right spot internally for this new beginning.

There's been a lot of orientation this week. Last Sunday, Kathy and I flew in and I think I was the 4th person here. There was a choice of bedroom to pick from and I picked the street side so I could get the morning sun. The folks on the other side of the hall get evening sun but they're enjoying a balcony as well. The at-home directors stayed with us until Wednesday and it was good to meet everyone and see who they've been working with. The Orange sisters here are all so supportive of us and welcome us all the time, its a great energy around here. After the at-home directors left on Wednesday morning, we were able to have house meetings and get acquainted with each other a bit more. So far, I've been to Target a few times in order to make my room my own. If it's going to feel like home, it's got to have some "Jenn" in it even if I'm not sitting in here. It's funny because during the short time that I was in Chicago, I was trying to make that space mine and trying to find a place for all my belongings. Here, I've got TONS of storage space and nothing to put in it. Wake up call about simplicity but I think I finally got rid of the echoing sound... boy was that a lonely sound!

This weekend there's a street fair just down the road. We went there on Saturday and found that they have food and are selling things originating from every place that you could possibly imagine: Greece, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, etc. It was a great time!

Also visited Seal beach for an afternoon. What a different setting! I've spent most of my "big water" days on Lake Michigan and also was at Cape May last summer. This beach is so different, the beach itself is about a quarter mile between the houses and the water. The sand is practically black with gold flecks all in it. Really different but it's a very reflective place that I think I will frequently occupy.

Thuy, the novice from right here in Orange, made us Vietnamese Spring Rolls this week for dinner. Really good!

This week we'll be visiting the different ministry sites that are available. They include:
- one-on-one visits or sacramental preparation at Juvenile Hall
- 2nd grade aide in a Hispanic area school called St. Joseph
- working at Mary's Kitchen which is a place that provides food and shower facilities to the homeless
- working at Thomas House, a homeless shelter for families
- helping out a the Regina Residence which is a building attached to the Orange motherhouse for the retired and assisted living sisters
- volunteering at L'Arche Wavecrest, a facility which people with disabilities and their assistants choose to live and work together.

So I think it will be a full week. I hope to be as attentive as possible to the Spirit's movement this week as I decided which ministry I will participate in for my 8 month stay in Orange.
Will write soon but feel free to comment or browse at pictures between now and then!
Pictures of all the novices are on the right side for your perusal. In a short time, the Federation website will have these pictures will accompanied by biographies that we wrote this week. If you don't know the Federation website, a like to it is on the right.