Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Broader Sense of Home

I write this in the air (my elementary mind tells me I’m closer to God here) as I travel to Cape May, NJ for retreat this week. I figure I can upload it to the actual blog for you all so see tonight before the retreat starts.

I know, I know… I haven’t written for quite a while and many sisters have enlightened me (numerous times) to that reality. There persistence finally paid off!

The life of a novice as you know from my previous writings is very different than it used to be. Who would have been able to take a flight to a retreat, out of state, back in the days of old? I know that this is a privilege, not a right, and I view it as such. I’ve realized lately what a great time I’m entering my community, and really… religious life in general. There is so much talk about our role within the church and how we respond to the needs of our church and our world today. I get very excited and energized thinking about the possibilities that will be available to me with all this rising change happening around us. At the same time, I feel a tremendous responsibility. With religious life having, in general, fewer entrances (although numbers not uncommon in the overall history of religious life), I know that God will have to dream possibilities within me that would require fewer sisters and more lay people to accompany me. Nonetheless, I know that the work will continue to be great.

On a different note…
This past week, after a visit with family for Father’s Day, I came back to visit six possible ministry sites. Soon I’ll be choosing one, with God’s help, where I will minister 2-3 days a week starting in September. The ministries include service at a food pantry, parish work, school, retreat and social service/justice work with young people, and tutoring. I’ll let you know more about the ministry that I’ll be working in when it’s possible.

Also starting in the Fall, I’ll be taking one class at Catholic Theological Union. I just registered for the class, we’ll see if it’s full. In addition to the ministry and class, I’ll continue having a prayer day and will have classes with Kathy, my director.

Some of the other things that are planned this summer include:
• a trip to Wichita to meet with our leadership team and to visit community houses and ministry sites in the area – I’ll also be having a discussion with sisters in the area about a topic (undecided) that was covered during the program in Orange and having time with individual sisters
• helping with a Partners in Mission trip in LaGrange which I’ve heard is a program where some students from our high school in Cleveland will be coming to do ministry for a week
• Come and Paint week with Mary Southard
• Jubilee weekend at Nazareth (oh yeah also the Jubilee celebration in Wichita while I’m there)
• Some vacation time
• A temporary vows ceremony in Brentwood, NY to celebrate with one of my novice friends!
• A final vows ceremony in Louisiana, there are two but I’ll only been able to go to one. Undecided which…

So as you can tell from reading that line-up, there isn’t much time to feel settled or get to know people in the place that people call my home. This transition is starting to feel really elongated which is tough at times but I’m also glad to be able to see so many people and have the opportunity to go places. I’m looking forward to the chance to really develop relationships with people inside and outside the community. I’m praying for the patience to allow God to show me who that might be.

Hope that I haven’t lost too many of my readers with my hiatus but I think I’m getting back into the swings of reality and daily life… finally! Praise God!
I’m looking forward to the things I’ll be able to write about while I finish this first year of novitiate and head into the second. Who knows where I’ll be writing from next time.
Much peace to you all!


Anonymous said...

She's baaaacck!

Hey Chica, Good to have you back in the blogs....missed your updates....After reading what you've done and what you are going to do this summer alone, I think I have to go and take a nap....the rest of the year sounds exciting as well...enjoy every moment.....barbk

Anonymous said...

I too was delighted to see the latest post! Prayers accompany you not only during retreat but during this second phase of novitiate....different and broadening and productive of further growth and deepening.
Thanks for your openness and sharing. Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Yipeeeeeee! You have returned! I've missed your input and do love your reflections. Know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings after leaving the fed.novitiate. You're correct in realizing that your world is big now...Glad to have you back!
JM from Albany!

Cynthia said...

Dear S. Jennifer,

I'm happy that you are blogging about your experience as a novice. It's a terrific way of reaching out to other young girls who may consider a vocation. I enjoy working and being neighbors with some of the CSJs here in Baton Rouge. I enjoyed reading the article posted on the CSJ website which featured you and S. Theresa Pitruzello. Take care, Cynthia (P.S. Please do not post.)

Sister Julie said...

Hi Jenn, Hope you can promo our Vocations/Podcast event! (sorry for leaving this in comments but didn't have your email)

You are invited to join us tomorrow for a LIVE podcast at A Nun's Life Ministry on vocations and religious life. Details can be found at A Nun's Life.

Anonymous said...

HI Jeanne,

Now am up to date on you Blogs. You are really doing well in keeping us posted on your activities.

Jeanne, where and how do the people get their clothes?

Looking forward to seeing you at Nazareth.


Anonymous said...

Join the convent and see the world.
Whoda thunk it!