The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (okay … so the day after … but I love Marian feast days!!!!!)
Assumpta est Maria in cælum, gaudent angeli.
Mary is assumed into heaven, the angels rejoice.
THIS JUST IN!!!!
SAINT JOAN TOTALLY JUST WON THE STATUE!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO CLICKED THE LINK AND VOTED FOR GOOD OL’ SJA!!! 12,000 people and a very tall priest are very appreciative!!!!! *does happy postulant (not yet but oh well) dance*
I just got back from a wonderful weekend first in Chicago and then back in Livonia with mah sisters. We had a first profession of vows in Chicago on Saturday morning. ’twas pretty amazing. I met a great many people and I got to spend time with all the more sisters. We even watched a bit of “Gone with the Wind” in one of the community rooms in the central convent (they technically are not “motherhouses” anymore but I still kinda call them that). I had my meeting about my psych evaluations on Friday (I am not insane and I actually have some redeeming qualities … lol) and it all looks good for me to move into the postulancy around Labor Day.
After an epic road trip through a rather nasty thunderstorm from Chicago back to Livonia (like metro Detroit) and a flat tire, we made it to the big house in Livonia. Even though the driving was treacherous, I have to admit that watching the lightning weave through the sky was pretty amazing. I love thunderstorms. One of my favorite things to do is go for a walk during a rainstorm or a mild thunderstorm (not when lightning is irresponsibly crazy) or just relax near an open window and listen to the rain and such. My absolute favorite way to enjoy a good storm is sitting in church at SJA with no lights and just “be.” 🙂
Oh, about the flat tire. So we decided we had to stop to move around (driving for five hours can be kinda crazy), so we went to a rest stop. As we are pulling out of our parking space at the rest stop, Sister thinks that something is wrong. She re-parks the car and looks at the rear driver-side tire, alas, ’tis flat. Very flat. So we are about to call AAA when these three people pull up and offer to help us (I honestly think that had Sister not been in her habit, the odds of them stopping would have been a bit less … but let’s not get into that … just an observation). Apparently, one of them is a mechanic, another is an automotive tech, and the other person also helped out. They did every thing. They got the spare out. They changed it and put the stuff back (including our luggage from the weekend). I actually had to cancel the AAA help because of these guardian angels. It was absolute providence that these people came and helped us. It was absolute providence that got us to the rest stop safely before our tire got bad (we could have had a major problem going at high speeds on the freeway) … thank the Lord we were in MI. Pure providence all around.
Now that I have given you all a breakdown of my weekend, let me explain my title.
For all your traddy-leaning Catholics (like yours truly), this phrase is quite familiar because it is was is said thrice before receiving Communion. “Lord, I am not worthy.” A direct quote of the centurion from the Gospels. I have been saying this phrase a lot lately. This weekend was one of those times.
I was at two of our former provincial houses (Chicago and Livonia) and I was very glad that I got to spend one day (Friday) in Chicago just spending time with the Sisters … my sisters. 🙂 I had not really been able to do that the last time I was in Chicago because I was there for my psych tests. I got to take my meals with them. I got to pray with them. I got to spend down time with them. And I also discovered that Chicago has a rather nice library. Very nice. With comfy chairs. One can always tell a good library by the sense of smell. If one walks into a library and the smell of antique book fills one’s olfactory bulbs … then YES!!! ’tis good. I picked up the Roman martyrology and started a’readin’. lol
At all the central houses I have been to, I have had this overwhelming sense of “I belong here’ and “I am home” and it has become such that if I am just wandering around the central house, the sisters show me around themselves and take me to places I probably would not have thought to look. Motherhouses are so much fun to explore. You find the most random things. The random little bits of Catholicky awesomeness. The giant pictures of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Wandering around the grounds. Finding little prayer spots. I love it all. Sometimes it’s great to do it alone. Other times, it’s best to be accompanied to have someone with whom to share. The best conversations happen then. 🙂
Chicago has, in my experience thus far, the best Grotto. Beautiful grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. Statues of Bernadette and Our Lady. A fountain with flowing water. A little stream flowing to a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima.
While these externals do not dictate the fact that I belong here, they do tell me I am in the right place. I fit. My heart finds peace.
I felt all of this in Coraopolis and Chicago. And I am sure I shall feel it wherever my sisters are, because I have before.
But one stands out. Even when I try to tell the voice to stop. Even when I try to convince myself that it’s just some sentimental attachment. Even when I try to convey it to someone.
I was sitting in the chapel at Livonia (my absolute favorite chapel in all of chapel-dom), minding my own business, when this voice in my heart whispers quite insistently, “You belong *here*.” I could internally hear the emphasis on “here.” And when I questioned it in my heart, “I know that I belong with these sisters. But where?” Again, “Here.” It was all the more insistent. And the more insistent it became, the sense of right-ness and peace that permeated my being just kept growing. An indescribable sense of “Lord, it is good that I am here.”
Trust me, I have been trying to convince myself that these internal words are just the Lord’s way of confirming my vocation. Confirming that these sisters are to be my family. While that is very very true, I cannot help but perhaps think there is something more to these internal utterings (that are totally not from me). And the sisters kept telling me that when I was professed (after 3 years of initial formation), they wanted me to come back. All I can say is that if God wants it, it will happen. Though I must admit that these experiences are telling me that this may be where I belong. Where I will go after my postulancy and novitiate are completed. I will love wherever God puts me because I will be with my sisters. 🙂
Sunday afternoon, at the Livonia central convent, we had a special dinner (Felicians do breakfast, dinner, and supper) for the newly-noviced novices (two of whom are from the Detroit area) after their Mass of Thanksgiving. After the meal was completed, I went for a visit to the convent infirmary to visit the older and infirm sisters.
One of the sisters I met was 99 years old and she and I had a very nice conversation about vocation. She was telling me about Mother Desales who was in charge of the province when they were building the motherhouse. She was telling me about how the world needs pray and Christ. How we as Catholics are sooo blessed to have the Church and her sacraments, her t/Tradition, her saints, etc. How the Eucharist is the greatest gift God ever gave man and how very sad it is when not even Catholics can show proper respect for the Real Presence. We had a wonderful conversation. I did not wish for it to end but I had to get back home. I promised her that I would come back and visit her the next time I was in Livonia.
And with all that, I shall now explain why the whole “Domine, non sum dignus” is apropos. In all my experiences, I was willed with such right-ness that I could not help but wonder, “who am I to be becoming a part of this wonderful congregation?” Who am I to be a part of this life-filled and life-giving tradition? Who am I?
And I am not sugar-coating the life. Whenever you have two or more persons with fallen natures living in close proximity to each other for extended periods of time, one is bound to have some clashing in one way or another. It’s just how personalities work together (or not). But no matter how much persons may clash, these sisters still love each other. And it’s very apparent in so many ways. This is a community of women who love Christ, Our Lady, the Church, others, and their fellow sisters. I know this is where I belong. I am aware of what will most probably come with the life but, when one looks at the big picture, and even in the small things, it’s definitely worth it. It’s what God wants me to do. He’ll provide me with the grace to do His will. But I still feel the internal “Domine, non sum dignus.”
God will take this very crooked piece of iron and mold me back into what I was made to be. Sin and my fallen humanity (like in all of our cases) has disfigured and altered that which God meant to be perfect. That which God meant to be most like Him. It won’t be easy but it will help me become the closest to the way God meant for me to be.
I am very excited for that which will be happening soon. Very excited. And those feelings of “right-ness” are only indicative to me that I am on the right path. I just need to keep going. Stay persistent. And be open to growth and the workings of the Spirit throughout formation and subsequent life as a consecrated bride of the Divine Bridegroom. I look forward to the experiences I shall have. I look forward to the people I shall meet. I look forward to what I shall learn about myself, others, the Church, and the Lord from my life as a sister. Formation is ongoing.
Have a great day!