Monday, September 28, 2009

Having fun is important

Wow, I've been busy! It's been a good busy though! My classes are all very interesting, but now I remember what it is like to be a college student again....always studying for some test, writing papers, doing projects, and reading, reading, reading. I am trying to find a balance between everything, while being patient with myself as I get used to it. I was incredibly busy in my undergraduate years as a student leader and student worker, and I didn't have time (read: make time) for a "life". At the convent, they believe that having a "life" outside of duties is very important. This must be one of the reasons why nuns live longer than most people.

One of the ways they do this is by making recreation a priority. It's not a reward for getting things accomplished, it's a priority. Last Friday, for instance, we had a Hootenanny. I had never heard of such a thing, but it was a lot of fun!

"An informal, festive performance by folk singers, often including audience participation with the use of acoustic instruments"

We sang some songs I've heard of and some that were new to me but old folk songs. I got to dance a little bit too. They played a polka song that brought me back to my Grand Rapidian roots. Of course I had to dance! It's the little things like this that make me feel at home.

Then yesterday was a glorious day! The Lions won! Unfortunately, we don't get their games in Wisconsin, but I kept reloading the Google page to keep track of the score, and every now and then, the Packers game would feature Detroit's game. I did get to see the epic ending of the Lions game. The Sisters, yes even the devout Packers fans, were celebrating with me. The Lions wons, the Bengals won, and the Packers won. Good day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

God has a sense of humor

Before I came to the convent, I was thinking about the habit. It is important to have one's attention on what one is gaining by joining the religious life, instead of what one is giving up. Yet I was thinking about how I wouldn't be able to dress up like the 80s for an 80s dance-party anymore. This thought came to my mind yesterday, and again, I dismissed the thought.

I was given an old button down white shirt I could wear, except it had a little too much stuff on it for my taste. Sr. Pat tailored it a little bit, and I hung it in my closet, without trying it on. This morning I put it on....and it has puffy sleeves! I considered putting my hair in a side ponytail for an added affect, but I quickly decided against it because I didn't want to distract people in church.

Later in the morning, while cleaning, I put it in a lava-style pony tail, on top of my head. God is so funny! He certainly plays an active role in all of our lives.

This made me think of the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 1:25.
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."
This means that the hilarious nature of God is stronger than human's sense of humor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feast Day and Birthday

I have been very busy with the classes that I am taking, but I love each of them. Surprisingly, I am enjoying the philosophy class. Marie and I are learning a great deal about the libertarian-determinism debate, and we have decided that we are not pre-determined to be determinists. I am looking forward to the next topic in the class, which is about the existence of God vs. the absence of God.

Not surprisingly, I am loving taking an art class again. I had given up my art major to become an elementary school teacher. I am taking advanced ceramics, and it's wonderful. I am working on a candle stick in the shape of a rose.

Today has been an interesting day because it's my birthday. They certainly know how to make someone feel special here! I cannot believe all the things that people have done here already. I feel very touched.

It's also my first Franciscan Feast Day. Today is the feast of the Stigmata. St. Francis had a deep reverence for the Passion of Christ. He actually wanted to suffer and become a martyr. He prayed for this! God didn't grant his wish, but he gave him the gift of the stigmata, in which he had the wounds of Christ. He didn't want to attract attention to himself, so he tried to cover up his wounds but it was really hard to cover up. I had never heard of anyone who prayed for more suffering, but more power to him!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy 9/9/9!

Yes, I'm easily amused. That makes life so much fun!

It's also the St. Peter Claver's Feast Day! Who is that? Basically one of the coolest saints ever. He is the patron saint of slaves, Colombia, and African Americans. He nourished, nurtured, instructed and protected victims of slavery in the 17th century.

This morning's closing prayer:
God of mercy and love,
you offer all peoples
the dignity of sharing in your life.
By the example and prayers of Saint Peter Claver,
strengthen us to overcome all racial hatreds
and to love each other as brothers and sisters.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

We also pray for an end to slavery. Slavery still continues, only it's under a different name: human trafficking.

In other news, classes are in full swing at Silver Lake College. I am reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church for my theology class. I had no idea that it would be so spiritually enriching! I learned that God loves us so much that He is constantly drawing us close to Him. He created us to share His love and happiness with us. It is only through God and with God that we will find our ultimate joy.

We try so hard to be happier through various experiences and things, and the whole time we are seeking God. The catechism quotes St. Augustine in saying that "my soul is restless until it rests in you."

I love John Mayer's song, "Something's Missing." I wonder if he knows the answer to the question that he poses in the song. That the thing he's longing for is a deeper relationship with God.
Listen to the Song Here
Read the Lyrics Here- make sure to scroll down the page

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yay for Habits!

For the past several days, I have been attempting to wake up at 5am. For those of you who think that sounds crazy, add to that idea that I am a night person. Yet it sounds nice to have that time to have coffee, relax and do the hour of personal prayer. The way the professed sisters talk about it make sound so very glamorous. This morning was the closest I've come to that. At 5:30am, I sprang from my bed!

The motivation? Today was the first day that Marie and I got to wear our postulant habits! It felt like prom. We were showered with compliments at how nice we looked. With over 150 sisters in the motherhouse, that's a lot.

I spent a lot of time today studying philosophy and theology. Sr. Pat was very concerned about this and said that I need to enjoy the sabbath. So I played games instead of finishing another subject area. Classes start Tuesday....yes, we already have homework due. I was so spoiled at Aquinas College and didn't even know it. At least the classes are interesting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting used to rural life

I am learning that there isn't really a time-frame for homesickness. While my homesickness significantly decreased within the first week, it still hits me every now and then. Like when I am driving/riding around Manitowoc, noticing how starkly different it is from Grand Rapids. Today I not only did that, but I also spent some time looking across Lake Michigan, noticing more than ever how one cannot see the other side of the lake.

What do I miss? Everything. Even the things I took forgranted: car horns, people yelling in the street, protesters of the war downtown, people praying on street corners, sirens, hearing the train, buildings, overpopulated squirrels who eat human food, etc. Yet, life in the country has it's perks as well. It's actually dark at night. Truly dark. There's no streetlights that make me want to close my blinds, and I am sure that if I thought to do it, I could go outside and look at the stars. Wow, I need to do that! I also can open a window at night without worrying about who might use it as an entryway. The country comes with it's own sounds, it just takes longer to notice them. Most of the time I just hear silence, but when I stop and pay attention, I hear birds singing, I hear the leaves on the trees, I hear Sisters laughing together in the distance. Some day this will become my new "familiar."

One of the nice things about being Catholic is that the mass is the same wherever you go. The nice thing about believing in God is that you know that as many things change in our lives, God remains constant. I have been hearing that so many times while I have been here, and it's very comforting. I don't know if I've been hearing it at the Liturgy of the Hours or at Mass or what, but it always gives me peace. Probably Liturgy of the Hours. Wow, I did not know I would love the Liturgy of the Hours this much. Before coming to the convent, I hadn't paid much attention to the book of Psalm. Now I look forward to praying with them! It's my new favorite book in the Bible. I just love how honest the writer(s) of the Psalms are. They express the full range of human emotions, and are very frank and real with God. It's incredible.