Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Living with an Older Population of Sisters

In my last entry, I wrote that I was going to crochet a 7"x9" rectangle to send in to Warm Up America. Well after telling a few of the Sisters in our community about my latest endeavor, I received 3 rectangles in the novitiate mailbox for the cause. So I decided to turn this small thing into a community project. It was approved by my directress and the local director for the Motherhouse. Sisters have the option of knitting or crocheting. The rectangles will be combined into afgan(s) (49 rectangles = 1 afgan) and donated to a local charity. I am also thrilled that the St. Rita's staff are informing the Sisters who live there about the program, so they can be included. (St. Rita's is our Health Care Center, and it is run like a regular nursing home. It also includes sisters who are recovering from surgeries.)

Pictured L to R: Sister Helen and the Local Director for St. Rita's, Sister Anne Marie

I am so grateful to have joined a community with older sisters. I cannot emphasize that enough. Their wisdom and friendship are invaluable, and I feel like I would be at a loss with out them. It is something that is difficult to explain to people who haven't had this experience, and from the outside, it can seem intimidating. However, once someone has stepped into this life, the preconceived notions begin to disappear, and you find yourself all the more enriched by those around you.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving that inspires you to give thanks for the blessings in your lives. If all else fails with the cooking, Lean Cuisine has some pretty good turkey meals. I recommend the Roasted Turkey Breast Meal with the "savory herb dressing and cinnamon apples." Of course Lean Cuisine doesn't give much food, so it would be good to add a sweet potato. Poke holes into it with a fork and microwave on HIGH for 4-6 minutes for 1, 6-8 min for 2. Let stand 5 minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Some Franciscan Sisters Do in Their Free Time

Last weekend was one of the discernment retreats for our community, and we had the pleasure of meeting (and seeing again for a couple of them) 7 young women. It was exciting and included music outreach at Holy Family Parish in Brillion. (We occasionally travel to parishes throughout the Green Bay Diocese to do their Saturday evening music ministry.) I was happy to have spent some time with the retreatants and each of them remain in prayer, in a special way.

Sister Pamela Catherine and I felt a need to relax and watch a movie on Saturday night. While we do watch "normal" movies, we both felt like watching a religious one. So we selected the 2005 movie "Pope John Paul II". It is difficult to watch at times, because JPII lived through the Holocaust in Poland and the rise (and contributed to the end) of Communism in Poland. The scenes involved with these two situations are gripping, but each scene had a was clear that they weren't just included for dramatic effect. I had no idea that JPII had faced so much...he continued to follow God deeply and use nonviolent means to end violence. It reminds me of what Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
It was an incredibly inspiring movie.

On Monday, we had Craft Night in St. Al's (the postulants' homeroom). Those are so much fun. People come and bring crafts to work on. There is always a nice diversity of crafts....card making, mosaics, sewing projects, etc. Last year, I tried knitting, but I did not particularly enjoy it. However, some time ago, I was playing "Hand and Foot" (a popular card game here) with two of the postulants and Sr. Theresa. Sr. Theresa told us that it is important to be able to knit/crochet, because when you get older, it will be activity that you'll still be able to do. So that resonated in me and I decided to try out crocheting. I found these instructions online, and Sr. Theresa worked with me to well, get the idea of how to crochet. I am still very much a beginner, but I actually enjoy crocheting. :) I am working on a 7"x9" block which if all goes well could be used for "Warm Up America." It will be good practice in the meantime. Maybe I'll be able to make a lot of 7"x9" blocks for an afghan (over time)...we'll see.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We are 141 Years Old!

This is going to be a rather quick entry. I am currently in a surreal state of mind, the one you get after completing a major task, and you know its over....but then, wow, it's over? Yesterday was Founders' Day, commemorating our 141st year as a community. Every year, the first year novices put on a program covering some aspect of our history. This year, we (the novitiate community) chose to focus on Healthcare Ministry. So we scoured through our novitiate archives, interviewed Sisters, took lots of pictures, and I put together a PowerPoint. We presented it in the afternoon for the St. Rita's Sisters and in the evening for the rest of the Sisters. It was a bigger undertaking than thought, but it was very enlightening and enriching. It made me even more proud to have joined this community.

So it's over, but don't worry, I'm not without things to do. We (the novitiate community) are in charge of the community social on Sunday, and I am working on a topic proposal for a research paper. Also, there is a retreat this weekend! I am looking forward to meeting all the young women who will be staying with us for a few days!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween/All Saints Celebration at the Convent

October 31st was a fun and eventful day. Sister Pamela Catherine and I helped Sister Daniella (a Benedictine Sister from Tanzania) and Sister Therese (a Dominican Sister from Vietnam) carve Jack-O-Lanterns. (We host Sisters from other communities--our "cousins.") We had so much fun! I played a Halloween mix that I found on Pandora, we had some Halloween candy, and Sisters Daniella and Therese used their amazing creativity!

Then Sister Daniella impressed us all with her ability to balance her jack-o-lantern on her head....and dance! The jack-o-lantern looked like he was having a good time, too!

Soon after that I left with a group of Sisters for the Manitowoc Life Chain, as part of the 40 Days for Life Campaign. You can read more about our experience here. It was nice to spend an hour in prayer and solidarity. My sign said, "Abortion Hurts Women," which is something I think organizations like Planned Parenthood gloss over. It is why I am so happy that there are programs like Project Rachel that offer healing for women who have had an abortion.

If you or your partner have had an abortion, please know that you are in daily prayer, and that God loves you more than you know.
If you are a woman who has had an abortion, I invite you to visit this website to begin/continue your healing journey:
If you are a gentleman whose partner has had an abortion, I invite you to visit this website for your path to healing:

Here is a music video that I really like that shows a lot of the internal struggles of an abortion:

On a lighter note, we had a fun "All Saints' Party" Sunday night! We dressed up as saints (like last year) and we walked around St. Rita's Health Care Center serenading them with "When the Saints Go Marching In" and showing them our costumes. Then the postulants hosted everyone in their homeroom for games and prizes. So many wonderful saints were present....Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc, St. Philomena, St. Juan Diego, St. Lucy, St. Mary, etc. I was St. John Bosco, so I dressed up as a clown. I don't have any pictures of the party, but my mom sent me an email with pictures from my childhood clown obsession, so I thought I'd share them:

My mom decorated this cake for my 4th Birthday. She is very artistic- she put these picture together in a scrapbook. (My baptismal name is Kara.)

My mom thinks I was 6 when this picture was taken:

Oops, just kidding found this picture!