Confession can be scary...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

but at least it's not like this!

A great example of some Catholic humor! (from a Spanish humor TV show)

Vincentian Quote of the Week: Mother Suzanne Guillemin & Chastity

Monday, June 27, 2011

 To be chaste is not being deprived of any affection, of any attachment of heart; on the contrary, it is the completeness, the greatest riches one could possess; it is a presence, the sovereign presence of Christ Who has been chosen and preferred, Who has invaded all the powers of our soul. To be chaste is to love God, but to love Him even in His mystical body, even in His extension of Himself in the neighbor close to us. (Mother Suzanne Guillemin)
Chastity is not something well-understood in today's world. Mother Suzanne Guillemin, the Superior of the Daughters of Charity during Vatican II, explains it in this quote. Chastity does not mean not having affection, but rather a different type of affection: a call to love Christ in our neighbor.

Bl. Marguerite Rutan Joins Company of Four Other Martyred Daughters of Charity

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blessed Marguerite Rutan, who I recently wrote about, joins the company of four other beatified Daughters of Charity - Sister Marie Madeline Fontaine, Sister Marie Françoise Lanel, Sister Thérèse Madeleine Fantou and Sister Jeanne Gerard - who were also martyrs of the French Revolution. Today is the commemoration of the 217th anniversary of their death and, if it were not Sunday, would be their feast day.

They have a fascinating history which I will only briefly explain here. (If you want to know even more information, famvin hosts an interesting article about it here.) Sister Marie Madeline was the Sister Servant (superior) of the house during the Revolution. The Daughters, which numbered six in the French town of Arras, tried to continue serving the poor while trying to avoid any political elements, including the town administration. This plan was working until a new mayor was instated that attacked the Sisters and their works. He, at first, removed the Sisters from running their hospital and then eventually expelled them from there.   

The Daughters, however, continued to serve the poor in other ways and even helped some escape to Belgium. As time passed, two Catholic men who attended meetings of those with revolutionary ideals, tipped off the Sisters saying it would be best if the two youngest Sisters escaped to Belgium. So, the two youngest Sisters disguised themselves and were able to escape to Belgium, where they continued their lives as Daughters of Charity. Then, there were only four left in the house - Sister Marie Madeline, Sister Marie Françoise, Sister Thérèse Madeleine and Sister Jeanne, the four Sisters that would later be beatified. 

Soon afterwards, the four Sisters left were arrested for not taking the oath. They were thrown into prison and remained there for four weeks before they were brought before a tribunal. The tribunal found them guilty of having counter-revolutionary material in their house (which had been planted) and were sentenced to remain in prison. Three months later, they were taken in the middle of the night to another town, where they were not known. They were brought in front of another tribunal, where the judge told them they would not be executed if they took the oath. The Sisters, during the tribunal, kept saying the Rosary and they absolutely refused to take the oath and they were sentenced to death by guillotine.   

As they were paraded to the town square, which was strangely silent (meanwhile, during other executions, the townspeople applauded), Sister Marie Madeline said to the crowd "Christians, listen to me! We are the final victims. Tomorrow the persecution will be over, the scaffold will be dismantled, and the altars of Jesus will rise glorious once again!” With that, they were executed. (Sister Marie Madeline would turn out to be right, by the way)

They would be beatified in 1920 and forever remembered by me, other Daughters of Charity and the Church for their charity, bravery and faithfulness.

Books: Gift Certificates from God

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hi, my name is Amanda and I'm addicted to books.

Don't believe me? I've read 20 books this year and it's June. (All this while going to grad school and teaching. Sometimes I feel like reading is my superpower.) And I'm not talking about skimpy 100-page books. I'm talking about 300-400 page books, and even a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was over 600 pages.

Yes, I may have a problem.

Nevertheless, I consider books, more specifically spiritual books, to be gift certificates from God - pages we can "redeem" into improvement into our own spiritual life, no cost to us. In that spirit, I give you a top-10 list of my favorite spiritual books.

Top Ten Books That Have Inspired Me in My Spiritual Journey
(in no particular order)
  1. "Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in the Secular World" by Henri Nouwen
  2. "Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux" by St. Therese of Lisieux
  3. "Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross
  4. "Gracias: A Latin American Journal" by Henri Nouwen
  5. "Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta" by Mother Teresa
  6. "Here I Am, Lord: The Letters and Writings of Ita Ford" by Jeanne Evans, Ita Ford
  7. "The Sign of Jonas" by Thomas Merton
  8. "The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom" by Henri Nouwen
  9. "Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God" by Rainer M. Rilke
  10. "Letters to Marc About Jesus: Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World" by Henri Nouwen
If I would continue the list, #11 would be "Spiritual Writings of St. Louise de Marillac: Correspondence and Thoughts" (which I continue reading) and #12 "The Way of Vincent de Paul: A Contemporary Spirituality in Service of the Poor" by Robert Maloney.

Which books have you read that you consider to be gift certificates from God? If you were to create a top 10 list of your favorite spiritual books, what would it include?

P.S. With the plenitude of blog entries lately, can you tell I'm at home with nothing else better to do?

(Clip art courtesy of

Daughters of Charity and the American Civil War

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Daughters of Charity have been in existence since 1633 and have obviously seen their share of wars, from Sisters being martyred in the French Revolution, crossing barricades during later French rebellions to aid the wounded, living amid air raids during World War II, you name it. After watching so many wars break out in Europe, more than two centuries after their founding, the Daughters of Charity would encounter a new war in a new continent.

A Catholic Sister in the Civil War
The Daughters, among many other religious Sisters, were heavily influential in the Civil War, especially in terms of nursing. This article, Catholic Sisters and the American Civil War, which I recently read, gives a better picture. This website - The Daughters of Charity Civil War History - is another great site. A connected link lists Civil War sites in Emmitsburg (MD) and Gettysburg that have a direct connection with the Daughters of Charity.

One Daughter of Charity, a nurse during the war, wrote:

“On reaching the Battle grounds, awful! To see the men lying dead on the road some by the side of their horses. O, it was beyond description, hundreds of both armies lying dead almost on the track that the driver had to be careful not to pass over the bodies. O! This picture of human beings slaughtered down by their fellow men in a cruel civil war was perfectly awful.”
Despite the danger, despite the horror, Catholic Sisters, like the Daughters of Charity, served those soldiers (of both sides) in an obligation to serve Jesus Christ in their fellow man.

Vincentian Quote of the Week: St. Vincent de Paul & Fervor

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Fervor is a fire that makes things boil and grow hot, just as fire causes water to boil. It is, properly speaking, charity on fire, and that is what you should have because a Daughter without Charity is like a body without a soul." (Saint Vincent de Paul)

Love LOVE this quote. I don't even anything to add to this quote because I think those two sentences explain exactly what the Daughters of Charity are.

Another Daughter of Charity Beatified!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Today, in France, the Catholic Church put another Daughter of Charity closer to sainthood. Sister Marguerite Rutan (1736 - 1794), a dear servant of the poor, was a martyr of the French Revolution, guillotined by her countrymen for refusing to sign the national oath that would betray her faith. Sister Marguerite is one of the many Sisters, Daughters of Charity and others, martyred during the bloody time of the French Revolution. 
Blessed Marguerite Rutan, pray for us!

Below is a video about her, in French with English subtitles:

UPDATE: The Vincentians have some awesome pictures of the beatification here

The Daughters of Charity & the Salesians of Don Bosco...Connected?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

So I know what you're thinking..."what do these Sisters and these priests have to do your formation with the Daughters of Charity"? Or, even more realistically, you're thinking "who the heck are the Salesians?"

Like the Vincentians and the Daughters of Charity, the priests were founded first. Don Bosco founded them under the name "Society of St. Francis de Sales". St. John Bosco founded them in 1859 to care for children and youth in nineteenth century Italy. They quickly spread around the world. A few years after founding the priests, Don Bosco met St. Mary Mazzarello, who encouraged him to found a womens' religious order under the same charism. (After all, behind every great male saint, there's a great female saint!) Together, they founded the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMAs) and those Sisters also quickly spread around the world. Eventually, the Salesian family grew as more religious congregations and lay groups were founded. Today, there are about 28 groups that count themselves among the Salesian family! Strangely enough, you could substitute "Don Bosco" with "St. Vincent de Paul" and "Mary Mazzarello" with "St. Louise" and you'd get almost the same story!

Anyway, there seems to be no connection between the Daughters of Charity and the Salesians, right? Founded in a different country, founded in a different era, founded with a more specific mission in mind, etc. The only real connection is that Don Bosco founded it based on the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, who was actually a buddy of St. Vincent de Paul and someone St. Louise de Marillac deeply admired. Other than that, I got nada.

St Mary Mazzarello, founder
of the FMAs
So why am I writing about this? Well, after college, I was a volunteer in Bolivia with the VIDES program, a long-term volunteer program with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and I worked alongside members of the Salesian Lay Missioners (both are programs I would HIGHLY recommend) as well as the Salesian congregation I would end up joining. The Salesians play a huge part in my vocation story. Like, probably more than I give them credit for.

Because of them, I was able to see the beauty of religious life. During my orientation with VIDES in New Jersey, hanging out with the FMAs "woke me up" again to the idea of being called to religious life. I've had many "wake up calls" throughout my vocation story and another one is when I was spending time with my old community (Salesian, but not the FMAs) this past summer.

Because of the Salesians, I saw the joy there is in serving others, particularly children and youth. It can be a frustrating job but all the Salesian Sisters and priests I've met take it all in stride - they keep on smiling and keep being joyful, despite it all. They love children and youth and have a dedication to them that I had never seen before. Despite how exhausted they may be, you'll find them jump-roping or playing baseball right along with the kids. They are one of the many people in my life that showed me the definition of service.

And of course, there's always divine intervention. When Don Bosco's relics were making their world-wide tour almost a year ago, I went to visit them in New York. In front of him, in St. Patrick's cathedral, I prayed "St. John Bosco, I know I'm not called to be a Salesian...yeah, sorry about that, but hey, that's God's fault, not mine. But please help me find my vocation. Pray that I may find the way." And well, you know the rest of the story.

If you're interested particularly in serving children and youth, either as a lay person or a religious, I suggest checking them out. I wasn't called to be a religious with them for many different reasons but they really are great people and I don't regret for a minute being a Salesian long-term lay volunteer.

If you're already a religious (Sister, priest, or brother!), is there a religious community besides your own that influenced you in your vocation story?   

Lessons on Religious Life from MASH's Father Mulcahy

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Although it went off the air two years before I was born, I've always been a fan of the TV show MASH. By now, I think I've watched the entire series. The series was full of great plots and moral lessons, hilarity, and more than all that, very rich characters.

While Hawkeye and the rest were funny, my favorite character was the MASH chaplain, Father Mulcahy. (I know, I stereotypical is it that my favorite character is the Catholic priest?) But I found Father Mulcahy to be one of the richest characters on the series in many different ways. He was a priest but so completely human, showing the world that Catholic priests (or religious in general) aren't robots.

Sure, the character of Father Mulcahy showed the "secular" world lots about the realities of religious life, but I think there's a lot we, who are discerning to be religious, could learn about religious life from his character.. I understand Father Mulcahy is fictional and I could learn many of these same lessons from the saints themselves but, to see these lessons portrayed in a regular comedy series, makes it all the more real.

In one episode, Father Mulcahy writes to his sister ("his sister the Sister" - she is a nun) and the whole episode follows his letter. He speaks of all the suffering he encounters, how he is exasperated and tired (so much so that he ends up punching an unruly patient), how he wonders if he is doing any good or if he is even useful in any way. At the end of the episode, at the end of his letter, he writes something to the effect of "but, in spite of all this, I carry on and hope I am doing something"  Religious, like Father Mulcahy, may never know the effect they have on people. They may wonder if, as hard as they work, they are actually doing anything. Yet, like Father Mulcahy, they carry on. They carry on to serve God obviously, but also in the hope that, in some way, they are comforting the suffering and being a light of hope, a glimpse of God, to others.

In one of the later episodes, the show goes through a variety of dreams the characters are having. Hawkeye dreams of losing his limbs, Houlihan dreams of blood on her wedding dress, etc. It's a weird episode and I wasn't a fan until they featured Father Mulcahy's dream. He dreamt he had just been elected Pope, though still in the setting of the MASH unit. He walked down the aisle of the Mess Tent to say Mass, excited to see so many people. When he arrives to the altar, we see on the film that the bottom of a large crucifix stands behind him. As he begins to talk, he starts to notice that blood is dripping unto him. He looks up and the camera (very quickly) shows that a crucified American soldier had replaced Jesus on the cross. It always struck is such a great reminder that religious must recognize Jesus crucified in all those they encounter who suffer. A wounded soldier, a widow, an orphan, a sick elderly...they are all Jesus crucified, suffering on their own cross.

Father Mulcahy's own selflessness throughout the entire show gives all of us a great example. Through sheer kindness, he saves the MASH unit from a soldier who threatened everyone with a gun, he sneaks away to take a dangerous helicopter ride to help those severly wounded on the battlefield, he talks Klinger out of blowing himself up with a grenade, and in the most notable last episode, running out in mortar fire to save trapped Korean POWs and completely losing his hearing in the meantime but then volunteering to stay in Korea after the war. We get the message that Father himself believes that he can only do these things through the grace of God. The same is true for religious. With God, they can do anything, even that which seems beyond their abilities. All the good they do is through Him and His grace.

Is there any particular TV or book character that taught you lessons about religious life? Or faith in general?

Mother Suzanne Guillemin and the Vatican II "Revolution"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Being just 25 years old, I was born well after the Councils of Vatican II. It wasn't until college when I started studying theology and discerning did Vatican II really come into my life.

Internally, without thinking, every time I met a religious community, I evaluated in my head their faithfulness to the spirit of Vatican II – on both sides of the spectrum, too much change or too little. Outside of my own thoughts, the actual topic wasn't brought up again until I was handed a book on Mother Suzanne Guillemin, Superioress General of the Daughters of Charity during Vatican II. She was not only that but, after the second session of the Council, she was one of only eight religious women invited by the Pope as auditors to the Council. She was integrated fully in the Third and Fourth session, sharing her opinion.

Mother Guillemin did a lot for the Community and I want to say she “revolutionized” religious life in the community but I feel as if she wouldn't like that I will say instead that she helped guide the Daughters of Charity into an evolution to fit today's world, to be daughters of Saint Vincent in a world that is utterly changed from when he was alive. She changed the governance of the Daughters, modified the habit, encouraged cooperation with the laity, and pushed Sisters to be professionally trained in their ministry. As I read her reflections, I can imagine the strength it must have taken to write this and perhaps the fear she must have had to take away something that had existed from the very beginning, the cornette:
“Tomorrow, everyone should be able to recognize without the help of the cornette, the Daughter of Charity, humble without affectation, attentive to everyone, disengaged from herself, truly available, an outcome of the love of God in order to give this love to all. We should be obsessed by this true charity and examine and revise our interior and exterior attitude continually to readjust it to charity. Wherever we are, we ourselves should be the expression of charity.
On a less serious note, the cornette
inspired a certain 1960s TV show...
Why take away something like the cornette, the basic symbol of the Daughters of Charity? Mother Guillemin and the rest of the Daughters didn't implement this change for the sake of change itself, but rather to evolve the life of a Sister in today's world. St. Vincent and St. Louise founded the Daughters of Charity essentially with no specific habit. They all wore the cornette so as to blend in with the French peasants, the poor they were serving. Over the years, French fashion among the poor changed but the Daughters never did.

Before anyone thinks Mother Guillemin changed too many things or was too radical, let it be known that she, in my opinion, embodies that perfect “in between” of Vatican II that I was searching for. She did not change so much that her community left the ideals of the Catholic Church or their Founders behind, but rather she clung more tightly unto the two. She remained always faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and her fidelity to the Pope was impeccable, obedient (and pushing all the Sisters to do the same) to all the decrees of the Holy Father. Of all the changes happening during Vatican II, she wrote: “let us acknowledge clearly that evolution is not revolution, renovation is not innovation. It is not a question of making a clean sweep of the past, of rebuilding everything into something new.”

The Daughters of Charity today live on Mother Guillemin's legacy. They no longer wear the cornette, yet they continue on a “uniformity” as Mother Guillemin wanted for the community. The Sisters wear their “uniform” of blue with pride. Though the clothes themselves may be different, the blue color and the skirt/blouse combination unites them all. As an alternative to the scratchy starchy cornette, Sisters may also choose to wear a dark blue coiffe, a short veil. The governance Mother Guillemin set in place continues today, allowing for a wider and greater communication between the Motherhouse in France and countries all around the world. Her push for Sisters to complete professional training in their field evolved into what it is today, an encouragement to pursue higher education for the sake of better serving the poor.

The Sisters also follow her example of charity, which she had followed from St. Vincent and St. Louise and Sisters before her. Mother Guillemin did everything from work in an orphanage, heal and comfort the wounded of World War II as air raids played out all around her, and serve her fellow Sisters as a Sister Servant (superior of a house), Visitatrix (superior of a province), and Superioress General.

Mother Guillemin died unexpectedly in March 1968, shortly after being nominated by the Pope as a consultor of the Congregation of Religious and before the end of her term as Superioress General. Yet, I believe what St. Vincent said to the Sisters about St. Louise's death can ring true for Mother Guillemin as well: “Mademoiselle Le Gras is praying for you in Heaven, and she will not be less useful to you now than she was before, nay, more so, provided you are faithful to God”

Vincentian Quote of the Week: St Elizabeth Ann Seton & Prayer

"We must pray without ceasing, in every occurrence and employment of our lives - that prayer which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

Probably one of the most famous quotes of the first American-born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. Elizabeth Ann holds a special place in my heart since I'm a Marylander, where she moved after being ridiculed for being Catholic, where she founded the Sisters of Charity, where she died. She founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph using the rule of St. Vincent de Paul. (Shortly after her death, the Sisters united with the Daughters of Charity.)

Elizabeth Ann Seton's legacy went beyond her own Sisters and stretched into 13 different congregations, making her the founder of the American Vincentian tradition - the Daughters of Charity, Sisters of Charity of New York, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of St Elizabeth, Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception, the Religious of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, and the Sisters of Saint Martha. You can read about their histories and connections to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton here.

An International Rosary

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A few nights ago, our local young adult group hung out with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their home in Baltimore. It was overall a great visit and one thing that really struck me was the Rosary we prayed in their chapel with their Sisters and the elderly.

In the spirit of World Youth Day, Sister had us do the mysteries in different languages. The person leading the mystery would say it in a foreign language, the rest would respond in either English or the same foreign language (if they knew it). I led the first in Spanish, a Sister led the second in Polish, another the third in Italian, another the fourth in Korean, and the fifth in French.

After I got over the butterflies of speaking Spanish into a loud microphone for the first time in years, I really saw how neat praying the Rosary like this really was. I suddenly felt connected with the world, knowing that even though I don't know Polish, Italian, Korean or French, I could still respond in English because, while the words themselves are different, the meaning is all the same. Just think - right now, somewhere around the world, someone else is praying the Rosary...just like you!

Here is a great video about youth and the Rosary:

What about you? Do you pray the Rosary? Have you ever had moments in which you felt the worldwide connection of being Catholic/Christian?

Are There Any Young Sisters Out There?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When I tell someone that I am becoming a prepostulant, sometimes I get the reaction "do the Daughters of Charity get any vocations? Are there any in the novitiate?" (because it is, stereotypically, those active religious communities that aren't getting the young vocations) or even "why don't you join that active/contemplative community that has all of those young Sisters?"

I explain that are different charisms in the Church and it's the Vincentian charism, the charism of the Daughters of Charity, that appeals to me and attracts me the most. And that community they mention has a different charism. Don't get me wrong - I know the Sisters in that community and I love them. The Sisters I've met from there have all been amazing and wonderful, but they're not for me. I explain that yes, there are women in the novitiate (or Seminary, as the Daughters of Charity call it) - it's not just an empty building mourning its vacancy. And that while the average age of an American Daughter of Charity is rather "up there", that shouldn't deter anyone from joining and that, in actuality, internationally the Daughters of Charity are one of the youngest religious communities out there. And of course, I say all of this much more gently (not bitterly) as I am right now.

On that note, recently, I found an email from November 2005. (No, I don't delete emails. Ever, apparently, mostly thanks to Gmail's large capacity. ) I initially went looking because I was curious which Sisters I had gone on that retreat with. I opened the email list that was sent to us six years ago. Among the discerners, I realized that 3 out of 12 of the discerners, all my age or slightly older, joined the Company shortly thereafter, and that 1 is joining now (that would be me) That means, if you do the math, a third of those discerners on that retreat are now a part of the Company (although one left shortly after formation).
I think that says a lot about the Daughters of Charity and who they are.

If you are discerning, whether with the Daughters of Charity or not, don't get discouraged. There ARE other young women who are having the same thoughts of being a Sister as you are. Not only that but that ARE other young women, maybe even your same age, who have already taken the leap and joined a religious community. There is a "vocations crisis" out there - that is a fact - but don't let that deter you. It may be scary but maybe it's up to you to break the status quo and follow the call. You are not alone!

Sr Denise: Vocations Director and True Daughter of Charity

Monday, June 6, 2011

I actually took this picture! It was at
my behavioral assessment needed for
the prepostulancy application!
I believe highly in thanking someone when they've done something incredible for me. And next Sunday, I'll be able to thank personally a Sister that has helped me, guided me, and served me so amazingly on this road to pre-postulancy (she's at the beach vacationing it up right now). It may not seem like a big deal to start pre-postulancy, but it is for me, it's a VERY big deal...because it's the beginning of the road to my true vocation, what I've been searching for for years.

Usually, when I write about specific Sisters, the impact they've had on my life and their dedication to the charism of the Daughters of Charity, it's on Sister Denise's blog. Today is different...because today, I want to talk about the author of that blog - Sister Denise LaRock.

I first met Sister Denise in 2004, on my first discernment retreat. She was not then vocations director yet, just a Sister that accompanied us on the retreat. It was there, with her help, that I was shown the humanity of Sisters. And the hilarity of Sisters. Namely her, who has a dry sarcastic sense of humor that always makes me crack up.

We wouldn't meet again for another six years, when I decided to contact the Daughters of Charity again after living in Bolivia, and it would actually take a few months before we realized that we had met before! When I emailed her about my renewed interest, Sister Denise invited me to her house for prayers and dinner. I, although sort of admittedly scared, agreed. After that night, while the prayer life, down-to-earth-ness, and mission of the Daughters attracted me, what really struck me was something Sr. Denise did. Soon after I accepted the invitation to come over for prayers/dinner, she asked "I usually serve at a soup kitchen Thursday nights before dinner. Want to come?" So, I accepted that invitation too. In the basement of that church, we served the Baltimore homeless dinner and I watched as she did more than serve - she sat and talked with the homeless, asked them how their day was going, how the kids were doing in school, etc.

On the car ride back, she told me that that particular soup kitchen wasn't run by the Daughters and she added "I love being vocations director and it's an important job but, at the same time, it doesn't allow me a lot of service with the poor. So I go there when I can" That night began a great attraction to the Daughters for me and it was that simple comment and act that meant more than anything. I saw that Sister Denise didn't serve the poor out of pure obligation to the mission of her religious community but rather it was something she wanted to do. By her example, I saw how devoted the Daughters of Charity were to the poor. I had seen it before in Sr Mary Elko in Bolivia but it was Sister Denise who showed me that the Daughters of Charity was not an institution, but rather a group of individuals completely on fire with love for the poor.

I obviously continued in my interest in the Daughters of Charity. And Sister Denise was one of the best vocations director a person could ask for. She was so completely down-to-earth; I felt like I could ask her anything (and I mean anything) and she would give me a clear-cut answer. She would take time out of her schedule to set up visits or meet at McDonald's or Double T to talk or choose books for me to read. To my shock, she was completely okay with me emailing her a gazillion times in the day with questions or reflections or anything really that popped in my head. And I never felt pressured into anything, I never felt like I was being "recruited". When the time would come, Sr Denise would just say "Well, here's what we could do next. What do you think?"

It was true that I was scared to contact Sister Denise at first. Partially because I had been in another community before and I didn't know what the Daughters would think of that, partially because I was afraid to contact a vocations director (it's usually scary to share these private thoughts with someone you don't know!) I know this fear is an issue with most discerners - at least it was for me. I wrote this post to thank Sister Denise and show the world her awesomeness but also a message - if you're discerning, don't be afraid to contact the vocations director of whatever community you might be interested in. Even if you later find out it's not for you, you won't regret contacting them. Believe me.

And if you're thinking about the Daughters of Charity, don't be afraid to contact Sr Denise because...well, she's awesome.

Vincentian Quote of the Week: Rosalie Rendu & Giving

She [Rosalie Rendu] also used to say "Fear nothing, Sisters, you will never be without assistance as long as your two hands are like this." She would then stretch out one hand in the gesture of giving and extend the other to receive. She then added, "If one hand closes, it will be useless for the other to reach out."

This is testimony from a Father Desmet, testifying to the Vatican of Rosalie Rendu's holiness. Sister Rosalie knew how to give and she knew how to receive. On a more superficial level, she knew how to treat the two - those giving and those receiving - equally. She was such a friend of the rich and the poor that not only were the streets of Paris filled for her funeral, but the cross on top of her tomb reads "To Sister Rosalie, from her grateful friends, the rich and the poor"

This saying of Rosalie reminds me of Appalachia Service Project, a Christian workcamp I attended in high school. We always held hands during prayers and once someone told me - "on your right, put your hand on top so that you're holding their hand up; on your left, put your hand on the bottom so that they're holding you up. this is what your life should be like - holding others up and letting yourself be held"

Prepostulancy: The Verdict is In!

Friday, June 3, 2011

After waiting (im?)patiently by the phone yesterday, having lunch with Sr. Liz and hanging out with Sr. Denise to distract me from going crazy with nerves, I finally received the phone call from the Visitatrix (that is, the provincial superior) - I'm in!

I was accepted for pre-postulancy to be served in the Daughters' community in Macon, Georgia. I'm super excited not only because I've heard amazing things about the house there, but also because it means I'll be speaking real Spanish again (none of this "only speaking slowly and only in the present tense" stuff!) because of their Hispanic community down there! And I'm super excited....because duh, it's prepostulancy - the first step in becoming a Daughter of Charity!

I don't have any words to express the joy and excitement I feel right now! I barely got any sleep because I was so full of joy! What a wonderful God we have!
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