Daybook No. 93

WeMayNotBeFearless

Outside my window::

Sunset time. The sky is a lovely robin egg blue, one of my favorite colors, and it so feels like summer.

Or as Olaf would say…..”SUMMMMMMMMMERRRRR!”

Wearing::

PJs–my BalletMet t-shirt and Disney World sweatpants. There are, by the by, the only pair of sweats I own. Apparently sparkle and tiaras must be had for me to go this route. 🙂

Reading::

The Pilgrim’s Progress (Oxford World’s Classics)

On the Passion of Christ: According to the Four Evangelists : Prayers and Meditations

I also read Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatiusover the weekend, and found it excellent. Really, it was the perfect book for me to read this year, since the word of the year is Trust. 🙂 A great read. It’s big, but if you’re a fast reader like me, you can get through it in much less than the weekend he recommends, but it’s not a book you really speed read, anyway.

In the CD player::

Jesus Christ Superstar, alternating with Lent at Ephesus. These nuns are amazing, folks.  Get their Easter CD, too!

Around the house::

There are several corners of the house that require deep tossing/cleaning. So I’m going to put them on my to-do list. I also need to take the HUGE pile of books/movies/CDs to Half Price Books and get some cash for them! It’s really an impressive pile.

From the kitchen::

various meals I’m making this week: sautéed salmon, French onion sou, Chicken with grapes, turkey burgers, Greek shrimp and feta penne, Provencal stew, balsamic chicken. (These are all Rachael Ray recipes. I’m on a Rachael Kick atthe moment.)

Plans for the week::

Dermatologis appt. in the morning. St. Patrick Feast Day Mass tomorrow (my parish’s patron, so we have Mass and then we party with Irish music and Irish tea party fixings). Also planning on getting to the gym several times this week.

Pondering::

Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our Good Lord, and I say to Him, ‘Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me do.’  If He gives me some task, I am content and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him since I do not deserve to receive anything more than that. And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell Him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the Good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach Him plainly and simply.

–St. Catherine Laboure

How a Cloistered Dominican prays: Sister Mary Catherine!

I was fortunate enough to meet Sr. Mary Catherine (and most of the other Summits nuns!) when I was discerning if I had a vocation to their wonderful life in Summit, NJ. Obviously, I didn’t, or I wouldn’t be writing here (ha!), but the deep Dominican spirituality and joy I found there continues to echo.

Like last week’s post, Sr. Mary Catherine discusses how she prays. To round this out, I think I have to write about how a Third Order (or Lay) Dominican prays. Then we’ll have the whole series! 🙂

Catholics on TV: “The Sisterhood”, Ep. 2

And we’re back for more! 

  • So last week, the girls arrived at the Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm Motherhouse in New York, where they’ll spend a few weeks living the way the sisters do. That means: no make-up, no cellphones, and they wear a uniform.
  • We start on Day 3 in the girls’ discernment process.
  • Mother Mark describes the prayer life of the sisters: daily Mass, daily private and public prayer, weekly Benediction. She says it keeps them grounded and feeds their souls. I love Mother Mark.
  • Christie says she’s more into “charismatic prayer” and not “written prayer.” Um……..ok……….there’s a place for that (like Franciscans), but “written prayer”, the Divine Office, is vital to any nun or sister. It’s a part of their lives, and a big part. If you don’t like that, you’re going to have problems. You can have free form prayer, but written prayer, “set” prayer, is just part of it. It’s something you have to adjust to. Did she not say the rosary at home? Mass is “set prayer”……She can pray in front of the tabernacle whenever she wants!
  • Eseni is talking to the vocations directress, Sister Marie Therese, who seems like a lovely sister. She seems very good at this, and it’s not easy to be a vocations directress!
  • “A tugging in my heart to religious life.” That’s a lovely way to put it, sister.
  • “I was very romantic when I came to religious life.” Aren’t we all? I think everyone has an idea of bon-bons and roses and JESUS LOVES ME!
  • This is an interesting conversation between Sister and Eseni, about the different ways we can love people. Eseni says she’s confused, but it’s good that she’s exploring this call.
  • (The crazy nails are STILL THERE!)
  • Poor Eseni. She’s had a really rough road to get here. “You are as beautiful as you are in the inside as you are outside.” Go, Sister! “All of us are broken!” That’s right! None of us are just perfect beings.
  • Nuns, sisters, monks, priests….none of us are perfect. It’s a process of working toward what God has called us to be.
  • The ladies are going to Massachusetts to one of the sisters’ homes, to see the sisters’ work and what they would be doing as Carmelites in this order.
  • “Working with the elderly is very real, and it can be…very uncomfortable,” Sister Cyril says.
  • Claire’s excited to experience this.
  • I LOVE the Carmelites’ motto for their homes: “The difference is love.”
  • The girls enter an art class and help out the sister in charge. Francesca isn’t there. Sr. Lois Ann is one of the sisters here, and she explains that art therapy is a beneficial part of working with people with dementia, as therapy for them.
  • Sister Peter tries to talk Francesca off the ledge…because she’s freaking out again. Understandably, in a way, because her grandmother has dementia.
  • (Gosh, I love these sisters!)
  • It IS hard to do this. I mean, I’m very medically experienced, and I don’t know how I’d react in a setting like this, because my grandmother also had dementia. It’s tough work, but what they do is SO important.
  • Francesca says she can’t talk about it on camera, so we go back to art class. Claire seems to really be alive and connecting with the residents.
  • “There are two levels of maturity going on here,” yup, I agree with Claire.
  • Sister Peter allows Francesca to call her mom and talk about what’s going on with her grandmother.
  • “My mom is a huge coping mechanism for me,” Francesca says…..um…………..
  • “You can’t just…always rely on another person to help you through something. If… you do, then you’re never going to be happy or feel at peace,” Sister Peter says. Preach it.
  • Sr. Cyril: “My first reaction was, get a grip! It’s not all about you!” I LOVE her! She goes on to say that these girls are a product of their environment, but……..I don’t know. That’s true to an extent, but there’s a difference between working through something new, and totally trying to avoid it.
  • Eseni and Stacey are going with one of the sisters to visit a patient in hospice, and they’ll say a rosary with her. Stacy says it reminds her of when her grandmother died when she was 18, and they were praying the rosary around her when she passed away. (Personally, I would want to go that way. That’s a lovely way to go, saying the rosary with others around you.)
  • The captioning is wrong: It’s St. Thomas MORE, not St. Thomas MOORE. Sigh.
  • It is definitely very intense, working with this population. It’s a lot like being a nurse. You form relationships with them, and then they die…and you know….that’s hard. But it’s so great that they would be able to help someone prepare for heaven, and provide that spiritual sustenance. “No one dies alone,” the sister say to them. That’s so beautiful.
  • The girls are gonna have a party! Yes, they stopped at a wine store. Ok.
  • “Having some nightcap,” Stacey says.
  • “It seems like they may be missing the point about why we’re here,” Claire says.
  • Eseni demonstrates twerking to Claire. Holy crap. Claire isn’t feeling this at all. And I can’t say I blame her.
  • If I were Claire I would’ve been a lot more, um…Italian. Mother Angelica, let’s put it that way.
  • The motherhouse chapel is really beautiful. What a great place for prayer.
  • Claire talks about the behavior last night, and she says it disturbed her. I don’t blame her. She decides to talk to Sr. Cyril about it.  She asked her what she thought of Twerking. HAHAHAHAHA! Oh that’s great. She’s trying to explain Twerking to Sr. Cyril.
  • “What I try to do is not let the conscious become a bias,” Sr. Cyril says. That’s good advice. “It is an important question,” she says later.
  • The girls are back in the van for another trip, but this time to a shrine with Sr. Maria Therese. (They spell it differently–Marie or Maria….not sure which is right.)
  • Sister explains that the sisters have a van with air condition that might not work when one of the girls asks about cars.
  • Hahah! The shrine is ice cream! That’s awesome! I love you, Sister.
  • “I”m not sure if I’m read to be a nun,” Christie says. She says that Jesus feels further away than he did before.
  • “Work hard, we pray hard, but we play hard, too.” That’s true. All the sisters/nuns I know are like that. 🙂
  • Does Christie want a contemplative vocation? She’s sort of confusing me, because she talks about how she wants time to be alone….
  • But [free-form prayer, like Christie prays, Charismatic prayer] it’s not within the Carmelite’s style of prayer, Sr. Peter said. Christie has her own spirituality. But the Carmelite spirituality isn’t that different than Franciscans, Cistercians, Benedictines, Dominicans….they all have a sense of rooted prayer, in the office. So…..I don’t know what’s going on here. Because a contemplative order has even MORE of that…..there is a flavor to each order. But the Liturgy of the Hours/Breviary/Divine Office is vital.
  • The girls are now learning to do chores like sisters: “bringing the Lord with them in the tasks,” Sr. Cyril said.
  • Sr. Marie Therese’s accent is awesome. I think she’s Irish?
  • Christie doesn’t understand why she’s not having visions or closeness with God. Um….wow. But finally she saw him, during prayer in the chapel. (I”m not sure what that means.)
  • She called the crucifix a “Carving.” Um……wow.
  • She clearly hasn’t read about the Dark Night of the Soul. She breaks down and starts sobbing, alone in the chapel. She says it’s like her husband coming back form war.
  • Day 14, the girls are meeting on the path by the ducks. “We finally get to meet the ducks!” one of them says.
  • Claire says she’s working on really accepting them, and she feels like she needs to apologize to them. So she goes for it.
  • I don’t think she was feeling isolated, Francesca. I think she just wanted to apologize. She doesn’t do the world’s best job of it, but….she’s trying.
  • Eseni says she’s “Throwing shade.” Um….Gotta say, I don’t know what that means. Is it like an insult? (And I’m not that much older than these girls….slang is definitely one thing that doesn’t translate between age groups!)
  • Although calling Francesca a drama queen was probably not the best thing ever. But come on, spade a spade. But Eseni isn’t taking it the way it was meant. Is Claire apologizing well? No. But Eseni and Francesca are really freaking. Christie seems sort of…..condescending. Stacey seems totally OK with whatever. She seems the most peaceful of all the girls–she just sort of goes with it. We don’t know a whole lot about Stacey yet.
  • Sr. Cyril says that she thinks one of the hardest parts of religious life is just getting along. I agree with that, and I just have my Lay Dominican chapter. There are ALWAYS conflicts of personality and things like that. No matter how religious you are. 🙂 “You don’t know where everyone is.” That’s so true. “It’s more than just the laundry.” Yup.
  • Francesca’s going to take Claire to task. “What did I ever do to you, man?”
  • Well, no, we don’t take everybody to be SISTERS, Stacey….yes, we take everyone as CATHOLICS, but not every Catholic is called to be A NUN OR A SISTER. So bring that down a bit, Stacey. (Overzealous pope quoting does, occasionally have a place, however. 🙂 )
  • NEXT WEEK: Urban experience with sisters in Chicago. Eseni calls her boyfriend and cries some more. They’re in the South Side of Chicago with electronic gates around the convent. The phones get turned in again. “You don’t need a phone to call Jesus, and that’s why they’re here!”, a sister says. The girls go shopping in the neighborhood. And DARNELL shows up! The sister is not pleased that he’s shown up. Francesca predicts that Eseni will go home. I think she might be right.

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 30

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I.

First snow of the season yesterday. And by “snow” I mean there were some flakes falling that sort of stuck to the wood pile at my parents’ house. So no real accumulation, although the kids at the bus stop in the morning were trying to eat the snowflakes, which I have to say is one of the fun things about snowflakes, even if it does make me think of Lucy in Charlie Brown Christmas.

(She says January snowflakes are better than December snowflakes. Maybe they’re like wine and they improve as winter goes on? No idea.)

If you’re new here, this is how I feel about snow: I like it from now until Jan. 1. Then the holidays are over, and I’m done with snow.

II.

So this morning the State Highway Patrol had “training exercises” at work. Good thing there were lots of signs, otherwise I would’ve had a heart attack upon seeing five heavily armed and armored men entering my office. It was like the FBI raid scene in ET + The Hurt Locker all in one. Crazy.

III.

Tonight is the opening of the last weekend for And Then There Were None. I am sad, because I really like this cast, but at least we have three shows and a cast party left! I’m hoping I can finish my grandma’s Christmas scarf while I sit backstage tonight. 🙂

IV.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, here are a few suggestions: Soap and/or candles from these nuns, and rosaries from these sisters. Affordable and Holy! 🙂 Reason for the season! All that stuff!

V.

In terms of cute: This picture of Baby Prince George and his parents. I mean, too cute.

“Yes, I am awesome! I am fourth in line to the throne! I want cake! Hurray!” 

And this one:

“Yeah, whatever, I’m clearly the cutest thing here. Where is cake. (Yeah, I don’t have teeth. What does that have to do with anything?)” 

VI.

The Pope on confession: It’s not a torture chamber.

VII.

PS: Note about the queen’s outfit, above. Someone must make her hats and coats together, because that degree of fabric match is pretty incredible. And what will that person do when the queen dies? Because I can’t see Charles going about in hats and coats like these. And I really don’t want to, either.

Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 19

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I.

(Note: So I started writing these on Friday. So “today/tonight” was yesterday. “Tomorrow” is today.)

OK first off–there’s a giveaway going on, kids! Go here and enter.

II.

In all the Disney writing up (and more is coming. I haven’t even talked about EPCOT yet.), I forgot to mention some more excitement! I will be teaching first grade CCD at my parish next year. I am so excited about this. Originally I had planned to be a teacher, but switched my college major after about a month and a half. So, so excited about this.

III.

These wonderful nuns were featured into today’s Wall Street Journal. Do you have their CD yet? These are truly wonderful nuns. Check out their website and order a CD!

IV.

Excited to go to a restorative yoga class with friend and cast mate Bethany tonight. I just love these classes and haven’t been in a long time. I just may fall asleep. Not that anyone would mind. I don’t think.

V.

Rehearsal tomorrow–music for Act II, which will be really easy because the “over 25” women are only in two numbers in Act II. But the over 25 men are only in one, the finale! So I get to sleep in a bit. 🙂 Sunday blocking the end of Act I and rehearsing a few of the Act I scenes we blocked previously.

VI.

I learned how to make blog buttons this week. I am really proud of my mad coding skills. 🙂 My dad is a computer scientist, so I taught myself some HTML way back in the 90s when he was studying it for work. I remember keeping the huge textbook balanced on my lap while I typed code into our ancient PC. Those were the days…(the button I created is on the sidebar!)

VII.

I’m re-reading Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It may be time to remake Cucumbers in Butter. I mean does that not sound awesome? Everything is better with butter anyway. 🙂