Well, it has been a week of settling for all of us (except Amy who is on retreat, and settling in her own way). Paula has quickly found many ways to volunteer here at the motherhouse and with the Center for Women in Transition. She has taken on responsibilities as sacristan and also at the front desk and switchboard. Clare has all of her boxes unpacked and is even able to find her things in her room now. Pat has been working to line up discussions with other CSJ houses around our constitution, history, maxims, and the vows, plan prayer days and reflections, and a million other pieces I’m sure I don’t even know yet.
As for me, I am beginning to get some semblance of a schedule. All day Monday and half-day Tuesdays are ministry days. My first ministry site is at Nazareth Living Center with our sisters there. I have helped to write thank you notes, transport people to and from the chapel and meals, sang with the residents during their Monday activity, and really have just been present to the people there. Wisdom and grace pervade the space, and I have loved every minute of it.
Tuesday afternoon is my time for art and beauty appreciation. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit walking the trails and taking in the wildlife. (Once we get our computer hooked up in our community room, I’ll post some pictures.)
Typically Wednesdays will be the day Pat and I attend the intercommunity novitiate classes here in St. Louis. The novices from many of the men and women’s orders from here in St. Louis and the surrounding areas gather for talks and sharing around pertinent issues. I am really looking forward to that beginning in a couple of weeks.
Thursdays will probably be my “desert days,” a time for me to withdraw in prayer. This week (tomorrow) Pat and I are going to Our Lady of the Snows for the day. I am not exactly sure what the day will hold, but I am going open to whatever the day will bring.
In the evening we will typically visit with a local CSJ community here in the city to share around some of the things I mentioned above. We are beginning tomorrow with a sharing of the Consensus Statement (a fairly concise summary of the CSJ charism and spirituality). It is one of my favorite documents.
And one of the last pieces of my week is time to share and reflect with Pat. We are taking the first ten weeks to look at “Issues in Transition”. This week we shared around our experiences of and reflections on “Uprootings” both physical and emotional. It was good time together. Everyone warned me that this year will be much slower than what I am used to. Some days I have been okay with that, some days (like today) are more difficult. Today I got up, went running, lifted weights, showered, ate breakfast, prayed, spent time reflecting on the questions Pat had given me, did two loads of laundry, checked e-mail, walked another couple of miles and it was still only 11:15! This year really is a gift for me. I will most likely never have time like this again. And I will get used to it. I will settle and slow and learn to breathe. It will just take me some time to learn how to get full use out of the gift I have been given.