Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Día de reflexión

Cada miércoles tengo la bendición de todo un día para integrar y asimilar lo que aprendí durante la semana. Esta mañana me desperté bendiciendo los alimentos ¡que raro! trataba de acordarme de lo que digo o pienso al despertar y el benedictus fue lo único que se me pudo ocurrir. ¡Vaya manera de empezar un día de reflexión! Pero creo que para Dios todo cuenta, aún la intención que tenía de saludarle propiamente.

Claro está que después de tomar café como que el cerebro se me puso en su lugar.

La oración no me es dócil todavía...esta semana he estado reflexionando sobre el evangelio del lunes "¡Hipócritas!, ustedes cierran la puerta del reino de los Cielos para que otros no entren." Y esto me recuerda las palabras de mi abuela "no seas piedra de tropiezo para nadie." Pero que difícil es vivir sin pisar las cintas del zapato del otro.

Vivir en comunidad no es fácil. A veces es tedioso tener que ser amable cuando te sientes todo MENOS amable...pero la comunidad es el lugar donde lo de afuera se queda afuera y llegas y recargas las pilas. Amo a mis hermanas aunque veces no siento amarlas pues el amor siempre nos hace vulnerables...aún así, estoy dispuesta a seguir adelante con el don que Dios me ha regalado. El papa Juan Pablo II decía en su Vita Consacrata que una existencia "cristiforme" que ha sido propuesta a tantos bautizados a lo largo de la historia, es posible solo desde una especial vocación y gracias a un don peculiar del Espíritu. Es por lo tanto el Espíritu de Dios el que me permite vivir esta vocación y vivir en el corazón mismo de la Iglesia.

¡Alabado sea el Verbo Encarnado!

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Vocation Story in ¡OYE! Magazine

Today I received an e-mail from the ¡OYE! Magazine where a short version of my vocation story was published. If you want to take a look click here

Among other news I read today an article that says that today more women are drawn to religious life. Thank God for Internet in which we can find information and communicate with vocation directors and other people who are discerning. If you want to read the article go here

And so, that is my news for today. Have a wonderful day and remember to pray for us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A quilt and a prayer

Today I started to put together a quilt for the friend of a friend who also happens to be my Sister in Christ. I was determined not to cut anymore but use up the odds and ends from other quilts. The result was this colorful, crazy looking quilt (it still needs to be sewn and quilted.)

As I was sitting there on the floor with all these pieces, some of them really pretty, some odd looking, some others plain ugly, I was thinking that this quilt resembles my life. We all have beautiful, bright memories to share, others that we are embarrassed to remember, others that we wish we could forget, but how, when they are all together, accepted as part of our sacred story, make a beautiful patchwork, a beautiful sacrifice of praise.

Quilting is for me such a profound prayer experience. I remember two things my grandmother used to love, and that was quilting/sewing and jigsaw puzzles. We used to sit on the floor with a cup of coffee and a cup of milk (I was a little girl) and we would be entertained for hours and hours designing patterns (there was no Internet then.) And I know that being there with her, with God in our silence, was such a privilege.

Today as I sit again (this time I do get coffee) and put together quilts and stitch them with love and prayers, I feel so blessed for the patchwork quilt of my life. For all the blessings and for all the heartaches because they have helped me to become a more compassionate person and for all the not so pretty pieces because they make me who I am, a uneven, unpatterned piece of artwork. A wonderful crazy quilt!

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works!
Psalm 139:13-14

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I am officiallly a second year novice!

Except that means I'm back to the first year. What I mean to say is that I am a canonical novice which usually comes the first year...But I am grateful. I think it would have been really hard to go from full time ministry teaching first grade to zero ministry and lots of prayer and study. So, I went from full time ministry to part time ministry (last year I worked at the Montessori school) and this year I get to pray and pray and pray.

Prayer is a strange thing. I would have thought that it was immediately going to turn me into some kind of contemplative little soul. I am grateful for all the time and freedom to visit Jesus in either of our two chapels, and yet I feel like I go sit there and I can not pray. I probably expect feelings to be involved in all of this. My past director used to tell me: "Helga, when you can not pray it is important that you remain faithful to prayer. Prayer is not about feelings or even an outcome, but about fidelity."

So, I try to remain faithful, but it seems like every time I have made another step in formation, entering, postulancy, novitiate, second year novitiate, I get into this mood of "I'll never make it." I know that with God all things are possible, and this life is great. But sometimes I miss college, I miss walking through a really noisy and dirty city. (Corpus Christi is incredibly quiet and clean, isn't it funny?) I miss fighting with my brothers and meeting with my uncles for breakfast. I miss their guitars and our very noisy and crazy family.

I have been in the convent since 2004 (I have had a long formation process which has been my choice) and although I have learned and gained a lot, I still miss the familiar. God only knows why He made my heart such a strange little thing when He knew He would call me to be an Incarnate Word Sister, and being a Sister is not easy. God told our Mother Foundress, Jeanne Chezard de Matel: "I have made you a crystal, but remember that you are as fragile as glass. You make me known because your childlike simplicity renders you transparent. I reveal Myself through you like a mirror."

May God embrace us all in our fragility and may He allow us to always reveal Him to others. May we always be faithful extensions of the Incarnation....but meanwhile would you pray for me, for us?

Friday, August 17, 2007

A New Novice!

On the Feast of the Assumption Postulant Theresa Nguyen entered the Novitiate. It was a beautiful ceremony.

For the gathering of the Assembly we sang: "Glorify the Lord, oh Jerusalem; praise your God oh Sion, for God has strengthened the bars of your gates, and He has blessed the Children within you...."

I love that! It was done in three voices (or at least we tried to do it in three voices...)

When asked why she wanted to enter the program, Theresa responded full of joy:

I wish to enter more deeply into the initiation program of this congregation so that I may help to form a community of worship, centered in the Person of the Incarnate Word, a community which, through its prayer and service will be a visible sign of the holiness of the Church.

To this the superior responded:

May you grow always in faith, in hope, and in charity, so that the life of the Church may be enriched by your endeavors and so that you may become an ever clearer sign to the world of the New Creation.

After the reading of Scripture, Sr. Irma our superior gave a beautiful homily in which she exhorted Theresa to deepen her prayer life and her relationship with God and with community. Then she gave the symbols of the novitiate: Constitutions, Directory, policy book and the veil by saying:

Receive this symbols of the Novitiate. May their use enable you to deepen your knowledge and understanding of our mission, to extend the Reign of God.

Through Baptism you died to sin and rose to a new life in Christ, now you wish to deepen that Baptismal Consecration by a life publicly given to God. May the title Sister which you receive be a constant reminder of your dedication to the Incarnate Word, through this community. Henceforth, instead of being called Theresa Nguyen, you will be known a Sister Theresa Nguyen.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hi! I haven't posted anything since I came back. I had an emergency oral surgery and I'm just getting back on my feet. I vaguely remember someone saying to offer up the pain but I was so miserable I couldn't even put a prayer together....or ask for mercy. But, I'm back and i am so excited to announce that next week, August 15 we will have a new novice! As Theresa, our postulant will start the novitiate.

We will be together in the canonical year but I get to make vows first (my canonical year was reversed so that we could be together.)

I will leave you with this picture of my studies this summer. From left to right are Sr. Magdalene (Africa), Sr. Mary Helga (US) Sr. Wanda (Argentina) and Sr. Maria Elena (Mexico) playing for the last Mass of the Matelian Studies this summer in Mexico City.