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In a few days I will be heading for my annual retreat. I usually choose to do silent, directed retreats. The chance to be completely quiet, except for the forty minutes each day with a spiritual director, helps me to go much deeper. It enables me to get more connected in that place deep within where God dwells.
Even though it’s not always an easy time, I always look forward to these “vacations with God” with excitement, knowing that God and I will have some extra focused time to nourish our relationship. By now I know that, even though I may be in the same retreat house, I will be surprised by God. God accepts me where I am, and at the same time offers me what is needed. Sometimes it’s comfort, sometimes it’s a chance to slow down, sometimes it’s a nudge, and sometimes it’s a push.
Even though it can sound like a retreat is just about “me and God” it’s always bigger than that. First, I always spend much more time in nature and so become more attuned to God’s grace in all creation and more aware of myself as one of God’s creatures in a much larger reality. Also, what happens in the retreat can remain with me throughout the year and can help to transform my relationships with others.
If you are discerning something in particular, a retreat can be a wonderful way to clear away all the extras for a time and focus on listing to the voice of God’s wisdom. Retreats have played an important role in my own journey to religious life. These special times also help me nurture that relationship with the One I fully gave my life to. I know God is looking forward to this quality time with me as well!
I pray you are able to have a “vacation with God” this summer!
As I sit in the Formation office, beginning my new ministry as Director of Formation and Vocations, many memories come flooding back of my early years in religious life. I came to the Dominican Sisters of Adrian 18 years ago. I remember my own questions, searching and struggles very vividly; I hope those memories help me walk with you as you discern where God may be calling you.
Let me share a little bit about myself and my own discernment journey, a very condensed version. I am originally from Canada and had actually never considered becoming a Sister until I was 31! I did, however, want to serve God once I returned to my faith. I became a teacher in the Catholic School system, and found that one of my favorite teaching areas was religion. I was very moved by the kids’ genuine faith. I felt a pull to overseas mission and became a lay missionary, serving in Bolivia for two years, and then serving in Canada coordinating the program for the other lay missionaries.
During that time, for about two years, I sensed that God was trying to tell me something but I just couldn’t hear it. My spiritual director suggested a prayer exercise and, much to my amazement, it led me to realize I needed to consider religious life. I had a lot of resistance and joke that I came kicking and screaming, but little by little God showed me that this was a path that fit me, a path where I could be the woman God made me to be, and a path which enabled me to love best.
These years in religious life have been an adventure in life and spirit! I served as a campus minister in Adrian, Michigan; did graduate studies in theology in Chicago; and served in parish Hispanic ministry in Anchorage, Alaska and Detroit, Michigan. I have lived with many different Sisters over these years. And here I am back in Adrian, looking forward to walking with women who are searching!
Please know you are welcome to get in touch with me or come for a visit to get to know us.
Before closing, I would like to share a book recommendation. I just finished Prayer: Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. It’s only 65 pages, but reading it is like a prayer. It might be a good book for you to use, taking a little bit each day as your spiritual reading. He says, “The ideal disciple is the one who is attuned to Christ’s heartbeat and sees the world with that sound in his or her ear.”
May you hear the heartbeat of Christ these summer months.
Sister Lorraine Reaume, OP
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Katherine Frazier, OP
Sister Maribeth Howell, OP
Sister Mary Jones, OP
Adrian Dominican Sisters
1257 East Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, Michigan 49221-1793
View our video series called VOCO (Vocation Conversations) to learn how Sisters heard and responded to God's call.