I have much to write about. So much, that I am conscious that this blog entry could be pages and pages if I don't use some self control. First and foremost on my mind, a friend of mine at the convent, Sr. Sean Marie, is preparing to enter Heaven, after a long battle with cancer. Sr. Natalie, my novice directress, has taken us to see her a couple times. I am convinced that she will go straight to heaven. She is already a living saint.
We currently have four postulants coming in August, which everyone is excited about, but Sr. Sean Marie says that there will be a fifth one, and she is offering up her suffering for that one, whoever she is. What a powerful prayer from a powerful woman. When she first told me about the 5 postulants, she saw right through my lack of faith that I was trying to conceal, and gave me a lecture about that. She said, "Don't pray for it if you don't believe that it can happen."
When she was missing her rosary, she used my plastic white and light blue one. I hadn't thought much of it before that. When Sr. Anne returned it to me, she told me that Sr. Sean Marie told her to tell me that she prayed lots of rosaries on it. Now it's an extra special rosary to me. I even have my double-sided blanket flipped over so that the Packer side is the one showing. (The Lions are on the other side.) Sr. Sean Marie is the Packer's biggest fan, and even got to go on the sidelines during a game because of it! She and I would go back and forth about our friendly rivalry, and she would affectionately call me "Detroit." I am so glad that I joined this community when I did, so that I have the blessing of knowing her.
Now I am on a different stage in formation. I am a novice. I have a white veil, and my name was changed from Kara to Sister Monica at the reception ceremony- here is the link to read more about it and see pictures from it. A lot of people ask me, "Why Monica?" Well, when I came here, I had intended on maintaining my baptismal name, and being either Sister Kara or Sister Kara Michelle. Someone advised me to be open, just like I was open to coming to the convent. A few days later, on August 27th, it was St. Monica's feast day. She stuck out in my mind, but I figured that the same would happen with other saints on their feast days as well. It didn't. My mind kept going back to St. Monica. Whenever someone would mention her or her son, St. Augustine, I would be excited. I just couldn't get it out of my head. I prayed to God to give me other names to choose from. He kept giving me Monica. In the spring, I asked one of the sisters to pray for names for me. I liked the name Monica, but I thought I should have more options. I did not tell her what name God had been revealing to me. A couple weeks later, she told me that she was sorry, that she wanted to give me a few options to choose from, but the only name that came to her was Monica. When I submitted my name choices, I submitted Monica, Thérèse, and Kara, in that order.
Now it doesn't happen this way for every sister. I don't want anyone to think that it does. The fact that it happened to me says nothing about me, and everything about God and His powers. But I know that God doesn't just do something like that to benefit one person. I am sharing it with you because I want to share with you His awesome powers at work in us. Also, some sisters keep their baptismal names, which is very good, because becoming a religious is a deepening of baptism.
Since this blog entry is getting pretty long, and I am trying to practice the self control I mentioned at the beginning of the entry, I will quickly write what else has happened in the past two weeks in the novitiate. Sr. Isabelle, formerly Marie and I joined Sr. Pamela Catherine and Sr. Natalie in the attached building reserved for the novitiate. We spent the first week helping out at Camp Franciscan, which was a blast, and the second week getting trained in sacristy and everything else involved with being a novice. We are also taking an iconography class, and we are looking forward to making our own icons!