Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lying Awake: Some Summer Reading

My summer reading included a novel titled Lying Awake by Mark Salzman.

It was a captivating book, and I finished it in two days (that's quick for me.) If you chose to get it, be careful about what descriptions of it you read, because a lot of them, including the ones at, contain spoilers.

To see if it's at your library or to interlibrary loan it, click here.
To purchase your own copy, click here.

Here is the description on the back of the book:
In a Carmelite monastery outside present-day Los Angeles, life goes on in a manner virtually un-changed for centuries. Sister John of the Cross has spent years there in the service of God. And there, she alone experiences visions of such dazzling power and insight that she is looked upon as a spiritual master. But Sister John's visions are accompanied by powerful headaches, and when a doctor reveals that they may be dangerous, she faces a devastating choice. For if her spiritual gifts are symptoms of illness rather than grace, will a "cure" mean the end of her visions and a soul once again dry and searching?

This is the dilemma at the heart of Mark Salzman's spare, astonishing new novel. With extraordinary dexterity, the author of the best-selling Iron & Silk and The Soloist brings to life the mysterious world of the cloister, giving us a brilliantly realized portrait of women today drawn to the rigors of an ancient religious life, and of one woman's trial at the perilous intersection of faith and reason.

Lying Awake is a novel of remarkable empathy and imagination, and Mark Salzman's most provocative work to date.
Other books I read this summer include:
  • Buried Wheat by Sr. Rosamond Nugent, OSF (a novel based on the history of our community)
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (While it was difficult to read this tragedy, it gave me insight into Hmong History and Culture, as well as a deeper awareness of the Secret War in Laos.)
  • Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light -the Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta (I am actually in the middle of it.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The End of Summer Brings New Beginnings

We have had some good times....I just love summers at the convent! On Saturday, Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Leslie and I joined a couple of Sr. Mary Zigo's guests for a soccer game. We were going to play for 10 minutes and ending up playing for an hour....we were just having so much fun, so we didn't go in until it got dark out.

On Sunday, we were delighted to welcome Regina to the postulancy! You can read about her by clicking here.

We have gotten to eat with her a few times, and today we all went on a bike ride together, which was a lot of fun. Later on, we taught her how to play Hand and Foot, a favorite game of the Community! It is so great to hang out with Regina and I am so glad she is here!

We have also welcomed more International Sisters to our Motherhouse! Yay! Sr. Juliet is a Little Sister of St. Francis, and she is originally from Tanzania, Sister Constansia is a Franciscan Sister of St. Bernadette from Tanzania, and Sr. Emiliana is a Bene Maria Sister from Tanzania. Tomorrow, Sr. Rose Maura will arrive. She is a Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister from Nigeria. I am excited to get to know these Sisters, our "cousins!"

Last night, we went to the Serran Picnic, which is always a great time. Serra is the lay apostolate for vocations in the Catholic Church. Serrans promote and pray for vocations, and last night they fed us religious sisters, brothers and priests in the area and led BINGO! The Serran picnic always feels kind of like a family reunion...I just love it. I got to meet a few more Salvatorian Sisters, and that was great. (We help out at the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse.)

For more about Serra, click here:

I hope and pray that your summer has been enjoyable, and that you have been able to stay cool! I know that it has been hot and dry in a lot of areas....

For those of you who went to World Youth Day, our Community has been praying a ton for you!!! We are members of the Apostleship of Prayer and Pope Benedict's intention for the month is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ." Throughout month of August, we have been praying for that intention during morning prayer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Couple New FSCC Blogs!

I would like to take the opportunity to invite you all to visit blogs by two of our professed sisters:

Sierra Vista Sister-Franciscan is a lovely blog written by Sr. Carol Siedl to document her experiences at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista, AZ.

It is a new mission site for our Sisters, and having Sisters around is a new thing for the parish. Sr. Carol and Sr. Mary Gabriel, the two Sisters who were sent there, have been greeted with a plentitude of hospitality from the Sierra Vista community! I know I am excited to continue to read of their adventures!

In Franciscan Retreat, Sr. Julie Ann invites you to read, reflect, pray, share; discern. As you peruse the blog on your own, you will find that it is not "just another blog on retreats" but a valuable roadmap to finding direction in your life.

Perhaps, you too, will feel called to attend a retreat with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. They are spiritually enriching and fun! When I came to retreats here before I entered, I found it refreshing to meet others who are discerning God's will as well!

I would like to personally thank the people who nominated Franciscanized World for Best Blog by Religious, SisterMaryAnn Tweets for Best Microblog and Habitually Speaking for Best Spiritual Blog. It is such an honor and we really appreciate it!
Catholic New Media Awards
Please consider taking a few minutes to vote. You may go to the Catholic New Media Awards website at
Voting closes Friday, August 26th. Thank you!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fighting World Hunger on the Potter's Wheel

Sr. Mariella spent time last summer teaching us how to write icons. This summer, she invited us novices and our directress, Sr. Natalie, into the pottery studio for some throwing on the wheel!

Sr. Leslie, Sr. Regina Rose and I all had prior experience throwing pots, and we soon found out that Sr. Natalie is a prodigy. Yeah. She learned in a day how to throw a pot on the wheel.

We had a great time, and we were able to contribute to a great cause! The bowls that we created will go to an Empty Bowls fundraiser.

"Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by The Imagine Render Group. The basic premise is simple: Potters and other craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity."

The bowls we contributed will benefit the Two Rivers Eccumenical Pantry, which currently serves 428 families. You can read more about it on Franciscanized World by clicking here.

Here are a couple pictures of what we made:

The prevalence of hunger in our world can be disheartening, especially when we watch videos of the people in Somalia who are suffering from the drought. We wonder if we can really make a difference in ending world hunger. However as Dewitt Jones says, we can make a contribution.

God uses our contributions and multiplies them. Just look what He has already done with the idea that one person or a small group of people had for "Empty Bowls": "Events have now taken place across the United States and in at least a dozen other countries. Many millions of dollars have been raised and donated to hunger-fighting organizations. We could never have imagined all the things people have done or all the ways the project has touched people" (
And our prayers do more than we know.

When Jesus heard of [the death of St. John the Baptist], he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." (Jesus) said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking 5 the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over 6 --twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
-Matthew 14:13-21