Sunday, November 30, 2008

Morning Prayer

Today's morning prayer is the first for Advent, and this, from the reading, caught my eye:

"It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Rom. 13:11-12)

Advent is the time of anticipation--and it is good to feel the anticipation in Paul's writings, to remember that he believed Christ would come again in his own lifetime. There is energy, excitement, and a strong call of repentance wrapped in that expectation.

So, let us turn away from dark deeds, and don the armor of light!

Giving Thanks

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

I am enjoying a long weekend with my brother and his wife. We've explored dinosaur tracks (yes, real ones), and we will see King Tut tomorrow morning. Exciting.

I am thankful for my lovely family. It is great to have the siblings here this weekend, and I'm happy knowing of the wonderful support that I get from them and from the rest of my family as well. I can't imagine how hard it would be if they didn't approve of my choice to enter religious life. I'm grateful that they do.

The last few days have had beautiful weather, everything from rain to sunshine--lots of sunshine. It's beautiful. Thank you, God, for the land that we live on, the beauty of sunshine, rain, and changing leaves. Thank you for the peace in my heart and the joy in my soul.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Happy Feast Day!

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, dear friend to the Society of the Sacred Heart's foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.

Philippine brought the Society to America in 1818, in a daring journey from Paris to New Orleans, and then up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where she established schools and eventually was laid to rest (in St. Charles, just outside St. Louis).

I am in awe of the amazing things that Philippine did during her lifetime. She had a persistent calling to serve the Native Americans from very early in life, which she only realized when she was 72 years old and rather sick. She earned the respect of the Potawatomi, and became known as Woman Who Prays Always.

I want to share a quote from the journal of the voyage from France to New Orleans. The voyage itself was very difficult, and the ship they travelled on was threatened by storms many times. All aboard were quite seasick for much of the time.

This particular quotation was written by one of Philippine's companion sisters on the trip, after they had come to the mouth of the Mississippi.

"After that, the view was sheer delight. Poplars planted along both banks, and during the night the fireflies made a light stronger than glow-worms. We saw several crocodiles from a distance. One of a small species was caught, it was an ell in length and like a lizard with speckled black skin and toad-like paws. The cook told us it was good to eat. The voyage became more interesting from day to day. We were seeing inhabitants, ... herds of cows, charming woods."

The journal goes on to describe the various animals, people, and plants that they encounter. I can only imagine the wonder at such wildlife and wild territory, so different from their home in France.

So, Happy Feast! Philippine died in 1852, and was canonized in 1988.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I am really blessed.

My friends are truly wonderful. It's not that anything happened to me today, I have just been thinking about spending time with friends lately, people I don't often get to see. And I miss them--but I also just feel so loved and blessed, even from afar.

May God always be at their sides!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I have been approved to continue with my application!

Thank you, God!

What is the nature of woman?

I've had some interesting conversations lately about the nature or essence of a woman.

And now I just have more and more questions about it.

It seems clear that the church wants to distinguish between men and women in order to (1) say that women cannot be ordained and (2) outline particular roles of men and women in society, especially marriage.

I have some issues with this, but my primary issue has to do with the fact that women are considered so different from men. We're not so different. There is much about the human person that is pretty universal.

But I think we also know that there is something that is different between men and women. So, what is it?

This all has to do with theological anthropology--how Christians view the nature of humanity, particularly in relationship with God.

Back to the question: what is it about a woman that makes her a woman?

I think the answer lies in a relational attitude. Unfortunately, this is usually simplified to a mother-child relationship. What about women who never become mothers? My identity as a single Catholic woman is not bound up in my ability to bear children--though I would never deny that that is part of who I am. There is more to me than a womb!

So, my partially formed conclusions so far are that being a woman is uniquely relational, that women are more attuned to human relationships (generally) than men are. This is reflected in motherhood, but also in a tendency to put the needs of others above her own in other circumstances. Does a woman have a greater capacity for unconditional love than a man?

Anyone have any insights? I would love to hear them, either in the comments or by email. This issue is (I believe) fundamental to the church's conception of the human person, and a tad bit neglected (or misrepresented) in theological discussions and church documents.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Has it really been a month and a half??

Time flies.

Especially when life is busy and complicated.

But it is time to "check in" once again, and to fill in my bloggy world with some info.

The biggest news since my last post is the successful beginning to the interview process. I had the first of my interviews for acceptance into the RSCJ at the beginning of October, and it went well. It was a learning experience--recounting many of the relationships I've had throughout my lifetime, and seeking to understand how they shaped me. It was also not easy: to look at myself and my history means acknowledging the bad alongside the good.

But in the end it was a positive and growing experience.

And more on the news front: my application will be on the agenda for a special meeting tomorrow, in which it will be decided whether I should move forward.

So, many prayers for a positive outcome!