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It can be daunting to think about committing to a goal, a project or a person, but it also provides personal, inner strength when we realize what’s possible for us when we say, “I’m all in!” and then take action.
My niece and her now husband pronounced their wedding vows recently and while we noticed they were very nervous speaking aloud what they were committing to, we also knew they meant every word. After the ceremony they were relieved, of course, but also glowed with inner strength and conviction. They had committed themselves and stood on the strength of their commitment.
The same is true when committing ourselves to a life of service as a member of a religious community. When the time comes at the end of the initial formation period and a woman pronounces her vows, she is alive in a new way with new energy after that ceremony. We’ve seen it repeatedly.
This grace, the grace of God, is abundantly given to those who commit to follow Jesus’ way. This grace-filled commitment expresses a person’s wholehearted promise to live her Baptismal call for a lifetime. For those of us fortunate enough to witness this ceremony, we come away inspired and grateful for God’s call in this person’s life and remember our own grace-filled call.
This November 8-10 those who want to discern with others whether God may be calling them to religious life are welcome to join us for a “Come and See Discernment Weekend” at Weber Center in Adrian, Michigan. You can learn more and register here:
We’d love to have you join us,
Puede ser desalentador pensar en comprometerse a una meta, un proyecto o a una persona, pero también nos da una fuerza personal e interna cuando nos damos cuenta de lo que es posible para nosotras cuando decimos "¡Estoy lista!" Y luego tomamos acción.
Mi sobrina y su ahora esposo, pronunciaron sus votos matrimoniales recientemente y, aunque nos dimos cuenta de que estaban muy nerviosos al hablar en voz alta a qué se comprometían, también sabíamos que decían cada palabra de corazón. Después de la ceremonia sintieron un gran alivio, pero también brillaban con fuerza interior y convicción. Se habían comprometido y se mantuvieron firmes en la fuerza de su compromiso.
Lo mismo es cierto cuando nos comprometemos a una vida de servicio como miembra de una comunidad religiosa. Cuando llega el momento al final del periódo de formación inicial y una mujer pronuncia sus votos, está viva de una nueva manera, con nueva energía después, de esa ceremonia. Lo hemos visto repetidamente.
Esta gracia, la gracia de Dios, se da abundantemente a aquellas que se comprometen a seguir el camino de Jesús. Este compromiso lleno de gracia expresa la promesa sincera de una persona de vivir su llamado bautismal para toda la vida. Para aquellas de nosotras que hemos sido afortunadas de ser testigos de esta ceremonia, salimos inspiradas y agradecidas por el llamado de Dios en la vida de esta persona y recordamos nuestro propio llamado lleno de gracia.
Este Noviembre del 8 al 10, aquellas que quieran discernir con otras si Dios puede estar llamándolas a la vida religiosa, pueden unirse a nosotras para un “Ven Y Vea Fin de Semana de Discernimiento” en el Weber Center en Adrian, Michigan. Puede obtener más información y registrarse aqui: www.adriandominicans.org/BecomeaSister/ComeandSee.aspx
Nos encantaría que se una a nosotras,
By Sister Judith Benkert, OP
I’m inspired to write about my gift of faith and the grace accepted. Grace is offered many times a day and it’s up to me to accept the grace, to engage and act as a Christian according to my baptismal gift. I would like to identify two specific graces that are an integral part of my life. I received the grace of Baptism very early in my family life and it’s that grace that urged me to accept a second grace, later in my life, that of a call to be a member of religious life, a Dominican Sister. Of course, I ask “Why me? Why not another person, who am I that I have been graced twice with regard to my vocation?” At the time I wanted a family and I wanted to become a sports star (the sports star was a real overreach). Well in one way or another I have accomplished that and much more. As a mother I would have been a guide to my family. As a Sister, I became a guide to many families over my years as an RN and a Certified Nurse-midwife. God’s gifts are only limited by our imagination. I continue to minister even now as an RN in a parish with a commitment to the homeless and service to frail seniors. I’m still preaching with my hands both being ‘in-touch’ and ‘touched’ by the people of God.
What is the direction in your life and are you open to God’s Grace?
After a winter of snow, ice, and freezing weather the new blossoms of spring seem so far away. We hear of a new wave of cold arctic air to hit the Northeast. And yet the first blossoms are bravely opening with the urging of the warm sun.
Discernment was for me a chilling winter. Where was the answer to my seeking? Where was the God I so believed in? Give me an answer, and soon! Then one morning I was out the back door and peeking through the winter soil was the small point of a peony plant. I lived in the Midwest. I was able to see the warmth of the sun bring the decision to light. I haven’t looked back. Spring blossoms are always reminders for me to believe in the warmth of God’s grace.
A close friend of mine was out with her beloved Grandmother. They were waiting for the light to change before crossing a busy street. Grandmother says to her granddaughter, “See the blind man across the street: Go and tell him your name, and offer to walk him across the street.” Of course, the little girl did exactly what her grandmother said. “My name is Marianne, may I walk across the street with you?” This was a life-changing event in the young girl’s life. In this simple act, she discovered the joy of service. She has been a Franciscan Sister of Peace for many years now.
We may receive such gifts during this time of Christmas, small gifts that shape our lives into the future. And then there are gifts that ask us for the big response: the “Big Give,” such as a vocation to religious life that asks for your life to be the hand of Christ for others.
Being the hand of Christ for others can take many forms. The invitation and the grace to say “yes” come from God who lives among the people, especially those who are on the margins. Women have many options. You will do it in your own way. It’s an unknown future. How is God asking you to be the hand of Christ for others?
Sister Judith Benkert, 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 Commitment & Joy to learn about the gifts of vowed life.