One of the qualities about religious life that often attracts people is the total availability of men and women committed to meeting the needs of people. Other callings in life demand a responsible commitment to a spouse and a family, but this calling from God demands otherwise.
For those of us called to this lifeform, the energy we get from being free to respond and being supported by our communities in that response is life-giving. While the phrase “total availability” could be deceiving, because it doesn’t necessarily mean we keep going night and day, every day. However, it does mean that when we are not taking action to alleviate needs, we pray about those needs and we listen to how God invites us to respond to them.
When you reflect on your life and how your heart is touched by those in need or you wish you could respond more freely, tune in to those feelings. They could be signs that your call is to this life of radical availability. When you are taking action on behalf of those in need, pay attention to how your spirit is lifted up. Your responses matter and can be indicators of your call.
Please talk with a trusted mentor or spiritual director about your experiences. These are ways God calls us. God may be trying to get your attention!
Blessings in your search,
Una de las cualidades de la vida religiosa que muchas veces atrae a las personas es la disponibilidad total de hombres y mujeres comprometidos a satisfacer las necesidades de las personas. Otros llamamientos en la vida exigen un compromiso responsable con el cónyuge y la familia, pero este llamado de Dios exige lo contrario.
Para aquellas de nosotras llamadas a esta forma de vida, la energía que obtenemos en ser libres para responder y ser apoyadas por nuestras comunidades en esa respuesta, es vivificante. Mientras la frase "disponibilidad total" puede ser engañosa, porque no significa necesariamente que continsigamos adelante día y noche, todos los días. Sin embargo, significa que cuando no estamos tomando acción para aliviar las necesidades, oramos por esas necesidades y escuchamos cómo Dios nos invita a responder a ellas.
Cuando reflexione sobre su vida y cómo su corazón es tocado por aquellas que la necesitan o si desea que pueda responder con mayor libertad, sintonícese con esos sentimientos. Podrían ser signos de que su llamado es a esta vida de disponibilidad radical. Cuando tome acciones a favor de las necesitadas, preste atención a cómo se eleva su espíritu. Sus reacciones son importantes y pueden ser indicadores de su llamado.
Por favor hable con una mentora o directora espiritual de confianza sobre sus experiencias. Estas son formas en que Dios nos llama. ¡Dios puede estar tratando de llamar su atención!
Bendiciones en su búsqueda,
During the life of Jesus, notice how he centered everything in relationships; with his Father and the Spirit, but also with his immediate family, his close disciples/friends and those in need of healing and challenging to live in right relationships with truth, love and all creation. When he became human, he did it because of a relationship with the rest of us humans.
Now it’s our turn in our daily lives to carry on the same kinds of relationships, especially ones that take us out of our comfort zone, those that demand that we love everyone, even the unlovable and those who are different from us.
As we discern God’s call for our lives, how can we best be about relationships? What life form – religious life, priesthood, married life or single life – would allow us to be about the priority of creating and sustaining right relationships? What clues do we find in our hearts for this deep call of service? What more information do we need before we take the risk of deciding? What is the right time for a decision because one of the pitfalls of discernment is to keep discerning and not decide. In other words, we can get stuck.
If we can help you with making a decision or to get unstuck, please be in touch. You also may want to view these stories of others who have taken the risk and decided.
May the Spirit guide you to your decision,
Una Vida Centrada en las Relaciones
Durante la vida de Jesús, note cómo centró todo en las relaciones; con su Padre y el Espíritu, pero también con su familia inmediata, sus discípulos / amigos cercanos y aquellos necesitados de la sanidad y enfrentando el desafío de vivir en relaciones saludables con la verdad, el amor y toda la creación. Cuando se volvió humano, lo hizo debido a una relación con los demás de nosotros, los humanos.
Ahora es nuestra oportunidad en nuestras vidas diarias para mantener los mismos tipos de relaciones, especialmente las que nos sacan de nuestra zona de comodidad, las que exigen amar a todos, incluso los que no son amables y los que son diferentes a nosotros.
A medida que discernimos el llamado de Dios para nuestras vidas, ¿cómo podemos ser mejores en las relaciones? ¿Qué forma de vida - vida religiosa, sacerdocio, vida matrimonial o vida soltera - nos permitiría priorizar la creación y sostenimiento de relaciones saludables? ¿Qué indicaciones encontramos en nuestros corazones para este profundo llamado de servicio? ¿Qué más información necesitamos antes de tomar el riesgo de decidir? ¿Cuál es el momento adecuado para tomar una decisión? porque una de las dificultades del discernimiento es seguir discerniendo y no decidir. En otras palabras, podemos atascarnos.
Si podemos ayudarla a tomar una decisión o para despegarse, póngase en contacto con nosotras. También es posible que desee ver estas historias de otras personas que se han arriesgado y decidido.
Que el Espíritu la guíe en su decisión,
I’m sure when most of us were young we took the risk of getting caught when we sneaked a peek at something our parents warned us against. Usually we did it just to satisfy our curiosity. Human curiosity tends to draw us when there’s a mystery involved.
In discerning God’s call to religious life, the Mystery of God is always involved. For example, you might tell yourself, “I don’t know any sisters or priests and certainly I don’t know any of them well enough to talk with them about this.”
Or this thought won’t leave you alone, “I wonder what it’s like to be a sister. I should look into the life of a religious to see what it’s about before deciding it’s not for me.” Or perhaps you notice at church or at a social justice event the same sisters always seem to be there. Maybe one of them speaks to you and you find yourself thinking about the encounter long after the event is over.
These thoughts and casual meetings can be what the Spirit uses to pique your curiosity and draw you into further exploration and conversations. They are worth your effort to pay attention. Finding out more information on your life choice adds to the truth of your discernment and ultimate decision making. It’s important to follow those small, seemingly insignificant, invitations to take a peek. God is known as the God of Surprises!
You might want to take a peek at the “Come and See” weekend, March 1-3, 2019 with us in Adrian. Click here for more information.
May you be curious enough to peek,
Estoy segura que cuando éramos jóvenes, tomabamos el riesgo de ser atrapados cuando mirabamos algo que nuestros padres nos habían advertido que no vieramos. Por lo regular lo hacíamos para calmar nuestra curiosidad. La curiosidad humana tiende a envolvernos cuando hay un misterio envuelto.
Al discernir el llamado de Dios a la vida religiosa, el Misterio de Dios siempre está involucrado. Por ejémplo, puede decirse a si misma: "No conozco a ninguna hermana o sacerdote y, ciertamente, no conozco a ninguno de ellos lo suficiente como para hablar con ellos sobre esto."
O este pensamiento no la deja en paz, “¿Cómo será vivir como una hermana? Debo enterarme más sobre la vida de una religiosa para ver de qué se trata antes de decidir que no es para mi.” O tal vez se da cuenta que en la iglesia o en un evento de justicia social que las mismas hermanas siempre están presentes. Tal vez una de ellas le habla y se pone a pensar del encuentro mucho más después de que se haya terminado el evento.
Estos pensamientos y encuentros casuales pueden ser lo que el Espíritu usa para despertar su curiosidad y atraerla a nuevas exploraciones y conversaciones. Vale la pena que se esfuerze a ponerles atención. Investigando más información sobre su elección de vida añade a la verdad de su discernimiento y su decisión final. Es importante seguir esas pequeñas invitaciones, que tal vez parezcan insignificantes, para ver para si misma. ¡Dios es conocido como el Dios de las Sorpresas!
Es posible que quiera ver para si misma durante el fin de semana de "Ven y ve", del 1 al 3 de Marzo de 2019 con nosotras en Adrian. Haga clic aquí para obtener más información.
Que sea lo suficientemente curiosa como para mirar,
Just as married couples celebrate wedding anniversaries, women religious celebrate what we call Jubilees or years of loving service as a Sister. Every year we celebrate our Sister “Jubilarians,” who have served 75 years, 70 years, 60 years, 50 years, and 25 years of religious life. This week close to 70 Jubilarians will come together at our Motherhouse in Adrian, Michigan to celebrate their Jubilee with families and friends! It’s a wonderful homecoming! I would like to share with you a poem that Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, wrote this year in honor of our Jubilarians.
Five and six
Combined, hundreds of years
Of love, of generosity, of faith, of witness
Lives full and rich and varied
Lives blessed and blessing
Listening to the quiet whispers and surprising summons
To begin something new
To go somewhere untested
To turn strangers into neighbors and friends
Walking with the shy soul of another
Preaching to a crowd
Passing gifts on to others
Generating and generative
The word made flesh in new ways
And familiar prayers
Jesus as friend, brother, companion,
Prodding, guiding, encouraging,
The ministry is never done alone
But always in the name
Decades, five and six,
Hundreds of years
What a witness
What a gift
What magnificent lives
We thank you
We bless you
We continue to walk with you
As you walk the faithful journey
With our God
A Sister friend of mine was nearing her final vows when she would make a permanent commitment of her life to God. She recounted how she happened to be taking a bus ride one beautiful day. She was enjoying the sights when on the bus came a young woman her age who was pregnant. She said, “The woman sat down on the seat opposite me; we could see each other face to face. The woman began to embrace her womb, her pregnant self. I felt my hand go to my womb. At that moment I gave to God the sacrifice of never having my own child. I heard God saying to me, ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m sure.’ It was a beautiful moment.”
While the vow of consecrated celibacy deprives us of the experience of giving birth and raising our own family*, the experience of giving and sustaining life can take many forms. Our capacity to give life also includes our multifaceted creativity, inventiveness, playfulness, and our ability to bring life into human relationships through good communication skills, appropriate sharing of feelings, being a good listener, being sensitive to the needs and concerns of other, and reverencing the dignity of people. It includes the willingness and ability to deal with conflict as well as the skills to make peace and work through difficulties inevitable in human relationships. Generativity also includes joining in the building of resilient communities where economic, political, and social justice is upheld for everyone, especially people who are poor and most vulnerable. In the broadest sense, being a generative person means being someone whose spirit-filled and loving presence facilitates the growth and flourishing of others and all creation. Giving life is a labor of love open to all people.
*Some women take the vow of consecrated celibacy after being widowed or after their marriage is annulled and their children are grown and living independently.
This week’s blogger is Sister Ellen Burkhardt, OP.
“I don’t believe you brought me this far to leave me.”
These words are from a hymn we sing in my parish in Detroit, one of my favorites. We sang it one week while I was discerning a call to religious life, and honestly, I thought the words were jumping off the page and into my heart with a message specially formulated for me! God seemed to speak directly to me through the words “I haven’t brought you this far just to walk away from you now. Trust me, now and into the future.”
As is often the case for those struggling with a discernment issue, I was filled with questions: How can I know that this is where God is leading me? Why won’t these questions go away? I also had concerns about giving up my home and a career I loved. I worried about entering religious life and then discovering that it doesn’t fit me. What would I do then?
Over time, with the help of prayer and spiritual direction, I came to a deeper trust that the same God who led me this far, will accompany me today and each day that follows.
This week's blogger is Sister Barbara Kelley, OP.
In a recent blog, Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP, our Formation Director, wrote about the dual dangers of overthinking in discernment – and of plunging into a decision without enough thought. I believe my own vocation story is a good example of overthinking – but with a happy ending!
My dad was a Jesuit, who left the Society of Jesus before making final vows because he realized that this was not his call – and returned to his home town to marry my mom. They had four children, raised us as faithful Catholics and I believe all of us are contributing well to society and are certainly a source of joy to those around them.
I was drawn to religious life, but was also always aware that, if my dad had gone on to be an ordained and perpetually professed Jesuit, I wouldn’t be who I am today. In my young years, as I constantly wavered on the fence between marriage and religious life – both good, both very holy callings – I thought often of my dad’s situation. What if I entered religious life and thus deprived the world of people who should have been born?
It was a powerful presentation on the life of St. Catherine of Siena that finally pulled me out of this “fence-sitting” posture and drew me, finally, to the Adrian Dominican Sisters. But I learned a powerful lesson: you can over-study the possible ramifications of everything you do to the point of paralysis, but that causes neither peace of mind nor a well-discerned decision. In the end, it’s a good idea to give these monumental “what if” questions to God, in trust that God will lead us to the right decision.
What serious questions in discernment do you need to leave trustfully in the hands of God?
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
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Adrian Dominican Sisters
1257 East Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, Michigan 49221-1793
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!