Novitiate life is not new anymore. I am not adjusting to living a new life or in a new place or with new people. There is less spontaneity and more routine. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, because stability and routine can strengthen and deepen a relationship. It is in this place that I am most called to remember why I am here and tend to that "why" in a deeper way. But most of the time it's hard to think back to when I first started "dating" this life and remember my reasons. The "whys" of my life have become hidden by "musts". I "must" learn this to get through formation. I "must" deepen my relationship with God during formation. I "must" move here, live there, serve this role to make the most of formation. My "why" had become "formation". Which is a TERRIBLE "why" for a drastic life change. But just like in a dating relationship when the reasons you love a person become obscured, taking a moment to remember how you felt at the beginning puts it all in perspective.
I had some help in finding my perspective. Recently, the Covington province welcomed 10 women and 6 SND vocation directors from around the country. Mayra and I got to join them for an SND Spirituality Retreat. During the course of the weekend where we explored both our own spirituality and SND spirituality, I realized that for me, the two match because I have a piece of SND spirituality within. Having to witness to these women what it is like to be a novice and recounting my vocation story over and over forced me to remember how I felt at the beginning. I remembered the passion, the love, and the joy that has come with answering God's question with my whole self. And I got to see this same passion, love, and joy in the women on the retreat and in my sisters as they interacted with the women.
|Retreat Team (left) and Retreatants (right)|
My favorite moment of the weekend was taking some of the women to visit our older sisters in Lourdes Hall. We started with our oldest sister and never got much farther because she kept us talking for about an hour. I will never forget the all-consuming smile that dominated her face the whole visit. You could see the joy of service radiating from her. And that day she did the greatest service, encouraging women on their spiritual journey and fostering hope. I met God that day.
|Sr. Kelley and I took some retreatants to visit Sr. Paul, our oldest sister.|
I am here because of the joy it brings me to serve and walk with people. I am here because I see that same joy in my sisters. I am here because this life helps me to be my most true self. I asked God to remind me of my "why" and I never thought the answer would come from 10 discerning women and our 101 year-old sister. God speaks in the most unexpected places.