A Sister Reflects - Reflección de una Hermana


flower bulbs in a basketIn the liturgical season of Advent, we begin a time of waiting for the coming again of Jesus into moments of our daily lives. Advent is like flower bulbs. These oddly-shaped forms are planted in the autumn here in the northern hemisphere, come up as tiny seedlings each spring and gradually blossom. Waiting throughout the long winter buried in darkness under the soil, they make themselves ready to blossom. Both darkness and waiting are essential to the fulfillment of their purpose. 

As we discern what God’s call is for our lives we do lots of waiting, praying, and listening without knowing just what the answer may be or when it will come to us. When we imagine these bulbs with personalities, we wonder what they are feeling as they wait. Like them we wait without knowing, sometimes feeling impatient, until the time is right. We’re not in control, just as the conditions needed for bulbs to grow are not controlled by the bulbs.

During Advent we’re invited to enter into the mystery, the darkness, and the waiting for the right time to receive the guidance we need.

Blessings on your Advent waiting,
Sister Tarianne


Misterios en la Oscuridad

En la temporada litúrgica de Adviento, comenzamos un tiempo de espera de la venida de Jesús a momentos en nuestras vidas cotidianas. Adviento es como bulbos de flores. Estos bulbos de formas extrañas se plantan en otoño aquí en el hemisferio norte, surgen como pequeñas plántulas cada primavera y florecen gradualmente. Esperando durante todo el largo invierno enterrados en la oscuridad bajo la tierra, se preparan para florecer. Tanto la oscuridad como la espera son esenciales para el cumplimiento de su propósito.

A medida que discernimos cuál es el llamado de Dios para nuestras vidas, esperamos, oramos, y escuchamos mucho sin saber cuál puede ser la respuesta o cuándo nos llegará. Cuando imaginamos estos bulbos con personalidades, nos preguntamos, ¿Qué sienten mientras esperan? Al igual que ellos, esperamos sin saberlo, a veces sintiéndonos impacientes, hasta que sea el momento adecuado. No tenemos el control, al igual que las condiciones necesarias para que los bulbos crezcan no están controladas por los bulbos.

Durante el Adviento, estamos invitadas a entrar en el misterio, la oscuridad, y la espera del momento adecuado para recibir la guianza que necesitamos.

Bendiciones en su Adviento espera,
Hermana Tarianne


Thanksgiving wishes on chalkboard with white pumpkinWith the celebration of Thanksgiving here in the U.S. we seem to be surrounded by messages of thanks and various ways to thank each other. While most messages I’ve seen or heard are aimed at families, friends, and neighbors, it wouldn’t hurt to widen our lenses to see everyone as deserving of our thanks.

Especially at this time of year I want us to be aware of the Giver of all gifts. We receive so many gifts every day that it’s not humanly possible to notice all of them, no matter how hard we try. 

In the process of discernment, the generous gifts of God accompany us. A gift arrives when we need to see clearly, to listen well, to read just the right bit of wisdom, or to meet up by chance with people who know us well – and who ask us just the right questions at the right time. These are all gifts from our Loving God, gifts that are more than we asked for and more than we can ever pay attention to. This is why the annual celebration of this particular holiday is so important.

So, let’s thank God for the plentiful gifts we’re showered with – especially, those who are discerning today God’s call for their lives. May each of us trust these important gifts that just show up! We remember Isaiah’s message from God: “...because you are precious in my sight...and because I love you...” (Isaiah 43:4)

Blessings of thanksgiving,
Sister Tarianne


Agradecer al Dador de Regalos

Con la celebración del Día de Acción de Gracias aquí en los Estados Unidos, parece que estamos rodeadas de mensajes de agradecimiento y varias formas de agradecernos mutuamente. Mientras la mayoría de los mensajes que he visto o escuchado están dirigidos a familias, amigas y vecinas, no estaría de más ampliar nuestros lentes para ver que todos merecen nuestro agradecimiento.

Especialmente en esta época del año, quiero que seamos conscientes del Dador de todos los regalos. Recibimos tantos regalos todos los días que no es humanamente posible notarlos todos, no importanta que tanto lo intentemos.

En el proceso de discernimiento, los generosos dones de Dios nos acompañan. Un regalo llega cuando necesitamos ver con claridad, o escuchar bien, o leer la sabiduría adecuada, o reunirnos por casualidad con personas que nos conocen bien – y que nos hacen las preguntas correctas en el momento adecuado. Todos estos son regalos de nuestro Dios amoroso, regalos que son más de lo que habíamos pedido y más de lo que podemos prestar atención. Es por eso que la celebración anual de esta fiesta en particular es tan importante.

Así que, demos gracias a Dios por los abundantes dones con los que nos hemos duchado – especialmente aquellas que están discerniendo hoy el llamado de Dios para sus vidas. ¡Que cada una de nosotras confiemos en estos importantes regalos que aparecen repentinamente! Recordemos el mensaje de Isaías departe de Dios: "...porque eres preciosa a mi vista... y porque te amo…”(Isaías 43:4)

Bendiciones de acción de gracias,
Hermana Tarianne



Tree with red applesOne of my favorite passages in Scripture is in St. John’s Gospel, the 15th chapter: “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Observing any kind of fruit tree: berry or apple, for instance, through the seasons, we notice that berries don’t suddenly appear in the spring or summer. They become fruit after the winter thaw, the spring rains, the increasing amount of daily sunshine and loads of leaves that nourish both the tree and the blossoms that precede the budding fruit. In other words, the fruit comes as a result of a process of growth. It is the way we also come to the fruit of knowledge for our lives.

One of the fruits of discernment is clarity that propels us forward with more confidence in our choices. None of the time we invest is wasted when we’re discerning what God may be calling us to do in life. It all bears fruit that will affect our perspective, our choices and the experience we have with God the rest of our lives. Why not spend some time this week thinking about – or noticing – fruit? Whether you see fruit growing or see the fruits of growth, give thanks to God who nourishes us with life all the time in so many ways! 

Blessings on your noticing,
Sister Tarianne

 


 

Dando Fruto Que Permanece

Uno de mis pasajes favoritos en las Escrituras está en el Evangelio de San Juan, el capítulo 15: "No me elegiste a mí, pero yo te elegí a ti. Y te designé para que fueras y llevaras fruto, fruto que durará, para que el Padre te dé lo que tú pidas en mi nombre.”

Observando cualquier tipo de árbol frutal: bayas o manzanas, por ejemplo, a través de las estaciones del año, notamos que las bayas no aparecen repentinamente en la primavera o el verano. Se convierten en fruta después del deshielo de invierno, las lluvias de primavera, la creciente cantidad de sol diario y un montón de hojas que nutren tanto el árbol como las flores que preceden a la fruta en ciernes. En otras palabras, la fruta viene como resultado de un proceso de crecimiento. Es la forma en que también nosotras llegamos al fruto del conocimiento para nuestras vidas.

Uno de los frutos del discernimiento es la claridad que nos impulsa hacia adelante con más confianza en nuestras decisiones. El tiempo que invertimos nunca es en vano cuando discernimos lo que Dios puede estar llamándonos a hacer en la vida. Todo da fruto que afectará nuestra perspectiva, nuestras elecciones y la experiencia que tenemos con Dios el resto de nuestras vidas. ¿Por qué no tomar tiempo esta semana pensando – o notando – la fruta? Ya sea que vea frutas en crecimiento o los frutos del crecimiento, ¡dale gracias a Dios quien nos nutre de vida todo el tiempo de muchas maneras!

Bendiciones al notarlo,
Hermana Tarianne



We humans fret a lot about what God might want us to do with our lives, as if we’re in a powerful guessing game and we must get it right or else. There is no need to fret and no need to guess what God is thinking. When we pay attention to our deep desires, we discover the purpose of our lives. The challenge is to know ourselves well enough that we become aware of our deepest desires in life.

This is where prayer and quiet are invaluable. A wise guide, mentor, or spiritual director can help as well. God created us out of love so we can love. God’s desire for us is to be able to love in the best ways possible throughout our lives. Whether as a single person, or with a spouse through married life, or serving with others in a community in religious life, it doesn’t matter to God. Discernment helps us sort through our choices and find what fits best.

God desires our happiness and the fulfillment of our gifts, given for sharing in whatever community we choose. If you haven’t thought about how you desire to share God’s love with the world, I encourage you to investigate. Don’t assume you know. Ask yourself, “What is my deep desire?” Explore options for your life. Pay close attention. Talk with and listen to others. Don’t eliminate options too soon. Give yourself a chance to explore.

If you think you would benefit by a weekend of discernment, please consider the “Come and See” weekend in November 8-10 here in Adrian. You can register online.

The Sisters pray for your discernment,
Sister Tarianne

 


El Emparejamiento de Deseos

Como humanas nos preocupamos mucho de lo que Dios quiere que hagamos con nuestras vidas, como si estuviéramos en un poderoso juego de adivinanzas y debemos hacerlo bien o ya veremos! No hay necesidad de preocuparse ni de adivinar lo que Dios está pensando. Cuando prestamos atención a nuestros deseos más profundos, descubrimos el propósito de nuestras vidas. El desafío es conocernos lo suficientemente bien como para que nos demos cuenta de nuestros profundos deseos en la vida.

Aquí es donde la oración y la solemnidad tienen mucho valor. Una guía sabia, mentora, o directora espiritual también nos puede ayudar. Dios nos creó por amor para que podamos amar. El deseo de Dios para nosotras es poder amar de la mejor manera posible a lo largo de nuestras vidas. Ya sea como una persona soltera o con un cónyuge a través de la vida matrimonial o sirviendo con otras en una comunidad en la vida religiosa, no le importa a Dios. El discernimiento nos ayuda a clasificar nuestras elecciones y encontrar lo que sea más adecuado. 

Dios desea nuestra felicidad y el cumplimiento de nuestros dones, dados para compartir en cualquier comunidad que elijamos. Si no ha pensado en cómo desea compartir el amor de Dios con el mundo, la animo a investigar. No asuma que lo sabe. Pregúntese: "¿Cuál es mi deseo profundo?" Explore las opciones para su vida. Preste mucha atención. Hable y escuche a las demás. No elimine las opciones ligeramente. Dese la oportunidad de explorar.

Si cree que se beneficiaría con un fin de semana de discernimiento, considere el fin de semana “Come and See” en Noviembre 8-10 aquí en Adrian. Puede registrarse en línea

Las hermanas rezan por su discernimiento,
Hermana Tarianne


She didn’t have any broken legs or arms, no visible cuts or bruises, but she was clearly in pain. For this young woman it was emotional pain. To anyone who responded to her, this twenty-something young adult poured out her heart and her life story. What she had come to realize was that she longed to belong somewhere and yet could not find out what that place was, her place in the world and her life’s purpose.

Sometimes that deep longing within our hearts does cause us suffering. God’s call to each of us – and we each do have a personal call from God for our lives – can be disturbing until we meet the call with a response that quells the pain of not knowing. The generosity of heart embedded in each of us from birth and strengthened in Baptism longs for a call that matches the abundance of our gifts.

Discernment time allows us to take stock of our personal gifts that the Spirit always gives for use in the community in which we share life. I’ve mentioned before the value of talking with a wise mentor or spiritual director who, in listening to us, can hear what we may not be saying in words but are conveying with the intensity of our feelings. You think you don’t have access to any wise person? You can always ask someone else who they talk to when they need wise advice. 

To paraphrase the wise spiritual writer Frederick Buechner who wrote: when our longing meets the deep needs of our world we have gladly found our calling. May you be blessed in the search for your place.

Peace,
Sister Tarianne


El Dolor de Buscar

No tenía piernas ni brazos rotos, ni cortes ni contusiones visibles, pero estaba claramente en dolor. Para esta joven era dolor emocional. Para cualquiera que le respondiera, esta joven adulta de veintitantos derramó su corazón y la historia de su vida. Lo que se dió cuenta era de que deseaba pertenecer a algún lugar y, sin embargo, no podía descubrir cuál era ese lugar, su lugar en el mundo y el propósito de su vida.

Algunas veces ese profundo anhelo dentro de nuestros corazones nos causa sufrimiento. El llamado de Dios a cada una de nosotras - y cada una de nosotras tenemos un llamado personal de Dios para nuestras vidas - puede ser inquietante hasta que recibamos el llamado con una respuesta que alivie el dolor de no saber. La generosidad del corazón encajado en cada una de nosotras desde el nacimiento y fortalecida en el bautismo anhela un llamado que iguale con la abundancia de nuestros dones.

El tiempo de discernimiento nos permite analizr nuestros dones personales que el Espíritu siempre nos da para usar en la comunidad en la que compartimos la vida. En el pasado he mencionado el valor de hablar con una mentora sabia o una directora espiritual que, al escucharnos, puede oir lo que no estamos diciendo en palabras, pero transmitimos con la intensidad de nuestros sentimientos. ¿Cree que no tiene acceso a alguna persona sabia? Siempre puede preguntarle a otra persona con quién ellos hablan cuando necesitan consejos sabios.

Parafraseando al sabio escritor espiritual Frederick Buechner que escribió: cuando nuestro anhelo satisface las profundas necesidades de nuestro mundo, con gusto hemos encontrado nuestro llamado. Que sea bendecida en la búsqueda de su lugar.

Paz,
Hermana Tarianne


One of the ways to help in discernment is to be specific about the choices that are yours by using your imagination. This means literally to picture yourself in the role for which you may be discerning. This is especially helpful once you’ve done research on possible religious communities to which you feel called. 

It’s simple: picture yourself living that life, living daily in community with others in a house or convent, working alongside them in a certain ministry, imagining yourself in a group praying with community members at Mass or during morning and evening prayer or picturing yourself taking classes or doing the required study for a class in your field.

As you see yourself in those situations, pay attention to how you feel doing the activities in which that particular community engages. If you experience a sense of inner peacefulness and calm or even excitement, that’s information you can use in the discernment process as one indicator that this may be your call from God.

It’s a way the Spirit uses our imaginations and invites us closer. As you discern, you remain in our prayer.

Blessings,
Sister Tarianne


Probándolo 

Una de las formas de ayudar en el discernimiento es ser específica acerca de sus opciones utilizando su imaginación. Esto significa literalmente representarse a sí misma en el papel para el que está discerniendo. Esto es especialmente útil una vez que haya realizado una investigación sobre posibles comunidades religiosas a las que se siente ser llamada.

Es sencillo: imagínese viviendo esa vida, viviendo diariamente en comunidad con otras en una casa o convento, trabajando juntamente con ellas en cierto ministerio, imaginándose en un grupo orando con miembras de la comunidad en la misa o durante la oración de la mañana y de la tarde o imaginándose tomando clases o haciendo el estudio requerido para una clase en su area de estudio. 

Mientras se vea en esas situaciones, presta atención a cómo se siente haciendo las actividades en las que participa esa comunidad en particular. Si experimenta una sensación de paz interior y calma o incluso emoción, esa es la información que puede usar en el proceso de discernimiento como una indicación de que este puede ser su llamado de Dios.

Es una forma en que el Espíritu usa nuestra imaginación y nos invita a estar más cerca. Al discernir, permanece en nuestras oraciónes.

Bendiciones,
Hermana Tarianne


Reading the stories in the New Testament about what happened to individual people when they met Jesus, we glimpse the powerful impact of those encounters.

From the lowly shepherds and wise magi visiting Jesus at his birth to his meeting with Mary Magdalene in the garden after his resurrection, we realize each person was deeply affected by being in his presence. Scripture recounts the many times Jesus healed people physically. He also raised sons, daughters, and friends back to life. As we slow down and think more deeply, we conclude not only their lives were transformed but the lives of those around them were most likely totally changed as a result of encountering Jesus.

Vocations, or calls from God to respond to our life’s purpose, are grounded in encounters with Jesus. These encounters include those we meet with great awareness and encounters with him we only later discover were hidden in the shadow of a deeper conversation we had with a friend, a parent, a co-worker, our boss, or a spiritual director. We can experience the encounter as an ordinary happening or something that profoundly touched our hearts when we read it in an online blog or saw the powerful witness of someone giving her or his life for others.

The Spirit of Jesus can work anywhere, anytime, and through anyone or any circumstance in our lives. As those who were lame, blind, or in need of instruction clamored to be in the presence of Jesus once they heard about what he did, we also have opportunities of encounter. May we ready our hearts to pay attention to them. They may look differently than they did in Jesus’ time, but the encounters with him are no less real.

As the Psalmist said, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts,”
Sister Tarianne


El Encuentro que nos Transforma

Al leer las historias en el Nuevo Testamento sobre los acontecimientos a las personas cuando conocieron a Jesús, divisamos el impacto poderoso de esos encuentros.

Desde los humildes pastores y los magos sabios visitando a Jesús en su nacimiento hasta su encuentro con María Magdalena en el jardín después de su resurrección, nos damos cuenta de que cada persona estaba profundamente afectada por estar en su presencia. Las escrituras relatan las muchas veces que Jesús sanó físicamente a las personas. También resucitó a vida a hijos, hijas, y amigos. Mientras reducimos nuestros pasos, y pensamos más profundamente, llegamos a la conclusión de que no solo sus vidas fueron transformadas, sino que las vidas de quienes los rodeaban probablemente fueron totalmente cambiadas como resultado de encontrarse con Jesús.

Las vocaciones, o los llamados de Dios para responder al propósito de nuestra vida, están asimentadas en encuentros con Jesús. Estos encuentros incluyen aquellos con los que nos encontramos con gran conocimiento y los encuentros con él solo descubrimos más tarde se ocultaron en la sombra de una conversación más profunda que tuvimos con un amigo, un padre, un compañero de trabajo, nuestro jefe, o un director espiritual. Podemos experimentar el encuentro como un acontecimiento ordinario o algo que conmovió profundamente nuestros corazones cuando lo leemos en un blog en línea o vimos el poderoso testimonio de alguien que da su vida por los demás.

El Espíritu de Jesús puede trabajar en cualquier lugar, en cualquier momento, y a través de cualquier persona o cualquier circunstancia en nuestras vidas. Como aquellos que eran cojos, ciegos, o que necesitaban instrucción clamaban estar en la presencia de Jesús una vez que escucharon sobre lo que él hizo, también tenemos oportunidades de encuentro. Que preparemos nuestros corazones para ponerles atención. Es posible que tengan una apariencia diferente a las del tiempo de Jesús, pero los encuentros con él no son menos reales.

Como dijo el Salmista: "Si hoy oyes su voz, no endurezcas tu corazón,"
Hermana Tarianne


Beginning this week there are two Co-Directors of Vocations for the Congregation: Sisters Tarianne DeYonker, OP, and Mariane Fahlman, OP. 

Sister Mariane is currently a Professor of Kinesiology, Health and Sports Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where her teaching and research focus on disease prevention through healthy living. She will be reaching out in the metro Detroit area as well as responding to requests from those who are seeking more information on religious life, specifically with the Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Sister Tarianne lives and ministers in Adrian, Michigan and is a social worker with a marriage and family therapy background. She has served in numerous leadership roles not only in the Congregation, but also at Dominican High School and Academy in Detroit, a sponsored ministry of the Congregation, in Beginning Experience International, a grief resolution ministry for separated, divorced and widowed men and women and their children and as a team trainer for Returning to Spirit, a program to bring about reconciliation between the church and those who attended Residential Schools in Canada. During the past year, she has been conducting creative writing workshops in Adrian as well as doing writing of her own. She brings to this new role a listening ear, curiosity about what God is doing in our lives and willingness to try new approaches in response to needs.

We are very grateful to Sisters Sara and Lorraine for all the contributions they have made to Vocation ministry and for how diligently they worked to make these past few months a smooth transition for us. We are comforted in knowing they are only a phone call or email away for help when we need it! We wish them well!

Blessings,
Sisters Tarianne and Mariane


"iPhone walking" by Eduardo Merille is licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0

Young adults who are discerning their vocation from God often ask me, “How do I hear God’s voice in my life?” Sometimes we think that God’s will for us comes from beyond us, outside our world, like the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses on stone tablets. Yet, a closer look reveals that God is present and active within us and among us through the ordinary circumstances of life and through all the decisions we make that shape our lives.

In reflecting on my own life, I realize how my vocation to be a Dominican Sister was realized through many years of paying attention to how God was meeting me in my life and how my response to God’s presence brought me a deep sense of joy and fulfillment that only God can give. 

Here is just a glimpse at one meeting with God which happened my junior year in college. I was a history major. My academic advisor told me that I needed to take a course on the Protestant Reformation because that particular split in Christendom had powerful political ramifications for all of Europe. So, quite unexpectedly, I ended up taking my first college religion class. This situation has God written all over it!

During one class, our professor explained to us that one of the great themes of the Protestant Reform was the right of every Christian to read the Bible in his/her own language. At the end of the discussion, our professor said, “I challenge each one of you to pick up the Bible and read one of the Gospels all the way through.” Can you hear God’s voice echoing in this challenge?

Since I didn’t even own a Bible, I borrowed a Bible from a Protestant friend. One night I decided to take up the challenge. I opened to the Gospel of Matthew and started to read it. At one point, I got to the passage in the Sermon on the Mount: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” I sensed, for the first time, the presence of God with me, speaking these words directly to my heart, awakening me to a divine love that I had never known before, a love unsurpassed. “Ask and you shall receive!” What open-handed, unconditional love! It wasn’t “Get good grades, and I will love you!” or “Do what I say, and I will love you.” Rather, I experienced God’s presence as a lavish, unconditional love. I was in tears. This experience was totally unexpected. God’s love was real!

This meeting with God, which happened through very ordinary circumstances, became a beginning step on the way toward fulfilling my religious vocation. Through the help of many other faithful Christians, I gradually learned how to develop my relationship with God through prayer, community, and service to the poor and those in need. 

How do you sense God is working in your life? What is your response?

Blessings,
Sister Sara


"Saint Catherine of Siena writing" by Rutilio di Lorenzo Manetti via Wikimedia Commons

“Work, then, my daughter in the field you see God calling you to work in, and don’t trouble or weary your spirit over what is said to you but carry on courageously. Fear and serve God selflessly, and then don’t be bothered by what people say except to have compassion for them.” 

These are the words of St. Catherine of Siena to a young woman who was struggling with discerning her call. Tomorrow is Catherine’s Feast Day. She was born in the tumultuous time of 1347 when the plague was raging through Europe. She cared for the sick, poor, and prisoners. She became a well known preacher and reconciler whom many followed. She even advised Popes. She responded to her times.

Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, in her book, Speaking with Authority: Catherine of Siena and the Voices of Women Today, explains how much Catherine has to say to those in discernment:

“…as Catherine’s letters to others make clear, our unique gifts, circumstances, and relationships, as well as the specific needs of others and the concrete situations in which we find ourselves, disclose more specifically the unique vocation to which each of us is called. Further, the dimensions of one’s vocation unfold and shift during the course of a lifetime….The plague victims, the poor of the city of Siena, and political prisoners [Catherine] came to know made a claim on her and helped shape her concrete response to the gospel.” (Pg. 28-29)

How do the elements of your life disclose your unique vocation?

Blessings,

Sister Lorraine


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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP

Co-Directors Vocations


Adrian Dominican Sisters
1257 East Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, Michigan 49221-1793
517-266-3537


Visit the Adrian Vocations Team on Twitter @ASisterReflects



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 video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!