Sunday, July 29, 2012

Greetings from Kekaha!

Aloha! I have been in Kauai for a few days now, along with Sr. Janet and Sr. Carol Ann. We are excited for Sr. Hannah's arrival this Saturday! Although we have been working hard, I have been enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. Even the shrubs are pretty!

The ocean is just is a beautiful shade of blue, and I love watching the waves. The song "Ocean" by Ten Skekel Shirt comes to mind every time I look out at it. Here is a video that someone posted on YouTube with the song and pictures that they took of Hawaii:

What is even more beautiful than the natural surroundings is the "aloha spirit" that I have experienced in the people here. They are so warm and welcoming! I am glad I love hugs because they are plentiful here.

I have already met a couple of my students and their parents at church and at school, which was great. I have been setting up my classroom, so I was able to tell them that they already have a desk with their name on it.

I will take pictures of my classroom as soon as I am finished. In-service starts tomorrow (Monday) and the first day of school is a week from Monday.

Until next time, here are a couple pictures I have taken:

St. Theresa's Convent

View from our driveway

Monday, July 9, 2012

Serving Others to Imitate Christ

Summers at the Motherhouse allow for different kinds of activity than during the year. Sr. Pamela Catherine and I, as part of the Temporary Professed Summer Program, have been helping out with the Service Crew. We have been washing windows, cleaning the guesthouses and making the beds, helping in the laundry room, wiping down the cafeteria line, doing dishes and our personal favorite: washing cars. Sr. Elena, who is in the Perpetual Vow Summer Program, helps us with the cars, although the majority of her time is spent in prayer- she is really enjoying this extra time with the Lord! She is going to profess final vows in August, and we are all so excited for her! I am glad she's here!

For our instructions we have been reading Pope John Paul II's encyclical On Human Work (Latin: Laborem exercens). While he does address worker's rights in the encyclical, most of it is about the dignity of human work. My favorite insight from what we have read so far is the comment on the humility of God, who though He was in the form of God, He became Man. He did manual labor as a carpenter, working by the sweat of His brow (see Genesis 3:19).  Then on the night before He died, He washed his disciples' feet, which at the time was an extraordinary lowly job. His disciples thought that it was beneath their rabbi to do such a thing. But He did, and then said that they are to do the same for each other (see John 13:1-17). Jesus made work holy and when we work we are in conformity with Him.

Reading this encyclical has also brought to light a significant value of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity: no job is too lowly for anyone; no person is too important for any job. Our Community Director (what other Communities call their Mother General or Mother Superior) joins the others in shoveling the snow/ice during the winter, picking strawberries in the summer, as well as anything thing else she can find time to do. Our former Community Director is often found cutting vegetables, washing dishes, and doing similar tasks around the house. Administrators, health care workers, teachers, and others all chip in where  and when they can. 

We'll be finishing the encyclical (and the Temporary Professed Summer Program) this week. It seems that it has gone by so fast.... Sr. Pamela Catherine will renew her vows this Sunday at Mass, which we are looking forward to. Then she is going on her homevisit, and I will be here to attend an Environmental Education workshop.

I pray that you are enjoying your summer, and staying cool in all the heat!