Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Weekend of Praise and Worship

 For our Friday Night Recreation, Regina, Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Leslie, and I headed down to one of our favorite hang-outs at the Motherhouse: The Green Hut. We did praise and worship together, and we also made s'mores.

What is a s'more? Allow me to show you a clip from a movie that I watched throughout my childhood. Ham Porter gives very clear directions on how to make a s'more:

Note: I personally think that s'mores taste better when the marshmallows are roasted to the point of being golden brown. When they get set on fire, there is an added "carbon" flavor.

Roasted Peeps! Don't try this at home. :)
Sr. Leslie had a scathingly brilliant idea for a science experiment. We tried roasting peeps! While it was fun to try, we soon found out that it can cause burns. The sugar on the outside caramelizes.

We found that if they are slightly cooked, they can be ok to eat, but we had to be very careful. We had a good time with it anyway.
Left to Right: Regina, Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Leslie

Then we did praise and worship, which was awesome. Sr. Regina Rose and Regina took turns playing the guitar and leading it. I have been learning some new songs from them, too. It is so great to praise God together, and it was a nice send-off for Regina, who is spending the next two weeks on a mission experience with our Sisters in Tuscon, Arizona.

Then last night, our Vocation Directresses took Sr. Regina Rose, Sr. Leslie, and I to ARISE Milwaukee: An Evening of Eucharistic Praise. It was a wonderful evening! There was an excellent turnout for the Spirit-filled event.

It was Eucharistic Adoration with music (a lot like how Saturday nights are set up at Steubenville Conferences). There were priests available for confession, as well as volunteers who were available to pray over people. The talks were great, too. One thing that stood out to me was when we were told that Adoration involves not just us gazing on the Lord; it's the Lord gazing on us! The Lord invites us to pray, and our prayer is a response to this invitation of love. It was a beautiful night.

If you live in the Milwaukee area, or are going to be around, here are the 2012-2013 dates for ARISE Milwaukee:

  • September 22nd
  • December 1st
  • February 9th
  • April 13th
People of all ages go to this, as we experienced last night. There were families there, too.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Expectations

I cannot believe that this is the last week of the Spring semester. It seems like it really flew by this time. All the Sister-students are busy writing papers, and preparing for finals and presentations. The other novices are studying everything they can about the New Testament, and I am practicing lots of logic formulas, while reviewing for digital photography and church history.

The big surprise of the semester was that I enjoyed Logic (philosophy). It was a class that I would never have taken unless it was required. So I am glad that I had to take it. Even though I might not have to know the "rules of implication" and the "rules of replacement" after this Thursday, I can tell that the class has helped me evaluate mass media more carefully.

In addition to finishing up the semester, Sr. Natalie (my novice directress) and I have been preparing for my First Profession of Vows, which will be Sunday, June 3rd! It is Trinity Sunday, which I think is perfect for a Franciscan profession. I got to choose a few of the songs for the mass, which was fun to do. We also have traditional songs that our Community sings for First Professions.

Other than preparations and school, we have simply been having a good ole' time. Sister Regina Rose, Sister Leslie, and Regina taught me how to play poker. We used chips and pretended that they were money. Before this, I thought poker was simply poker, but apparently there are a variety of poker games. For those of you who are nodding your heads right now, we played "Texas Hold'em." It was really fun, especially since I had beginner's luck. I ended up with a lot of blue chips (the highest level), which we decided were worth $20 (imaginary) each. I could have bet more than I did. One time I had 2 Aces in my hand and there was an Ace on the board and I put just a couple chips in the middle. We all had a good laugh about that when I revealed my cards.

During the game, Sr. Elaine (the postulant directress) walked through the room on the way to her office, leading to an enjoyable dialogue:

Sr. Regina Rose (to me): How much are you betting?
Sr. Elaine: (teasing) Are you gambling?!
Sr. Regina Rose: No, I said, "I need to change my bedding."
Regina (our postulant): Can I go to your wedding?
Sr. Regina Rose: They won't be letting.
Me: No more rhymes now, I mean it!
Sr. Regina Rose: Anybody want a peanut?
Regina: Anybody want a chocolate?

In case you missed the Princess Bride reference in the dialogue, here's a 40 second clip that deals with rhyming: If you haven't seen the Princess Bride, I recommend it. It is a very silly movie. You'll either love it or you'll hate it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Enjoying Easter Traditions

On Holy Thursday morning, Regina, Sister Leslie, Sister Regina Rose, and I were on a mission: we got to decorate Easter Eggs for the Motherhouse! That is a lot of eggs!

We had a great time and even learned some new techniques along the way.

For instance, if you look closely at the picture on the right, you will find a rubber-band in the lower left corner. Also, look at the the carton of eggs, and there is a blue-violet one with white stripes in various directions, as well as a green one with one stripe. The rubber-band is what makes that effect. Just wrap a rubber-band with a wide-width around an egg and put it in the dye. After you get the desire color(s), let it dry a little before removing the rubber-band; it doesn't need to be totally dry.

Another thing that Sr. Regina Rose (above) started doing was drizzling dye(s) over the eggs. It made for some really cool effects. It helped when there was some extra food coloring added to the dye-kit, too, to make the colors more vibrant.

It was a fun start to an enjoyable Easter Triduum. One of my favorite traditions at the convent is the quiet of these high holy days. The liturgies were wonderful, and we had extra time available for more personal prayer and contemplation.

Yesterday, Sr. Thelma (our sacristan), Sr. Regina Rose, and I prepared St. Mary's Chapel for the Easter Vigil. We arranged mums, hydrangeas, and Easter Lilies, and I learned something new when I did that, too. (Besides learning which ones were the mums and which ones were the hydrangeas.) Did you know that it is more pleasing to the eye when flowers are placed together odd numbers? For instance 3 pots together look better than 2 or 4 pots together. At the end, we removed the yellow pollen from the Easter Lilies. Doing this makes it more tolerable for those with allergies.

It's time for me to go set up for the Easter Sunday mass. (I'm the sacristan for it.) I pray that you have a holy and blessed Easter Season!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Can You Believe It's Been 800 Years Already?

In the preceding entry, I provided my favorite (at this point in my life) examination of conscience. Then this past Friday we had our Lenten Reconciliation Service at the Motherhouse. Fr. Jadin read the introduction and I loved it, so I thought I'd share it with all of you:

As we pray with Scripture, we become more and more convinced of God's overwhelming love. Even if our motives are self-centered, God says, "I love you." In spite of our sinfulness, God still says, "I love you no matter what you've done.
Regardless of our failures, God continues to love us with an everlasting love. We must grow in knowing Him as a kind, loving and forgiving Father who welcomes us with open arms. 
When we are convinced that we are loved, only then can we be honest and unafraid in looking within ourselves. When we know we are accepted, we need not be anything less than our own selves. We can live in freedom and sincerity.
Today, we had a special evening prayer commemorating a response to this love of God. The Franciscans of the Green Bay diocese gathered for the 800th anniversary (octocentenary) of St. Clare of Assisi's initiation into the religious life.

The story began at Palm Sunday mass. Everyone else grabbed a palm branch. Not Clare. The bishop noticed and walked over to hand her a palm. The Mass continued like nothing had happened. One of our Sisters told us that this may have been the Bishop's secret signal to her: that everyone was ready for her and tonight would be the night of her escape and her consecration to the Lord.

Regina (our postulant) played the role of Clare, and did an impressive pantomine of the daring escape from her home. Some OFM Friars played the role of the lesser brothers. Sisters from different Congregations took part in the procession and prayer. There were also Secular Franciscans and Associates present.

Since no Poor Clares could be present for the evening prayer, I found a nice video so they could represent, too. (I am sure they are having an enjoyable evening in the cloister!)

I have heard it said that if it wasn't for St. Clare, the Franciscan order would not have been able to survive. I am so grateful for this strong, brave, and deeply spiritual woman!