A Phone Conversation

I received a letter last Monday, the 16th, from Mother superior informing me that I should really call the Novice Mistress, or if that’s inconvenient, to email her. The irony is that I sent a letter because there was no response from the email I sent her two weeks ago. I called and let Sister know when she could call me.

She called on Thursday (traditional Corpus Christi). In the middle of an initial session with a client and her parents. This kid needs a lot of prayer, her parents, more. Anyway, the call went to voicemail.

So I called later after Mass and Eucharistic procession, around 10pm. We did eventually speak on Friday the 20th. She told me about how they still maintain duties for hospitality because they follow the Order of St. Augustine; they are a “daughter” of a religious order over here. Sister spoke frequently of “if you’re a serious discerner” and “you could come visit”. Sister seemed to be understanding of my work schedule, but suggested visiting on the weekends. I may be able to find a time to visit for 4-5 days (especially if I take advantage of weekends), perhaps as early as the middle of July. I’ve also received a copy of the “simple” vocation questionnaire. I can answer most of these easily, I’m only concerned about how to phrase the response about my family.

I need prayers for this.

I spent time today driving to Hermosa Beach to speak with my spiritual director about this, but he had a previous task which ran late; it was cancelled after I got to the residence. Since I don’t know when I’ll be speaking with him, I didn’t feel confident in thinking about it (I like to do my thinking while hiking). Instead, I cleaned my room. I have a ton of junk: chargers with nothing to charge, an ereader without a charger, books, 3 trashbags of clothes, jewelry, etc. It took all day and a set of plastic containers from Target to sort, organize & clear up. I also found my old vocation story and acceptance letter. Heh! That was strange; I felt like I was reading about someone else, and back then, still living at home and hampered, I was someone else. I’m not going to use any of the previous materials in this questionnaire, since I’m more fully myself today than I was in 2008.

Please keep me in your prayers; the spiritual attacks are, well, you know how they get difficult.

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Candy-coated?

I’ve noticed something, when I read the blogs of other women who have entered religious life, and leave their blog running for the sake of future readers, education, information, to say “I was here”, &c. All their blogs are explicitly religious. If something unsavory occurred at work, they don’t mention it on their page. If some dismal words were exchanged between mother and daughter prior to entering, then it’s not shared. It brings to mind a saying of St. Josémaria Escriva, that he disliked the candy-coated appearing statutes of Mary, as though she were made of baking paste to be sat atop a cake.

Am I on display, on a cake, to make you like me? Am I to be all sweet and nice, and you to never see my rough edges? Am I to appear saintly?

No. NO. NO!

I’m not here to say, “Hey! I have a vocation to religious life.” Or “I’m already holy and perfect, please accept me!”

BWAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I’m a mess. I’m human. I fall all the bloody time. I lie. I drink. I own 5” cherry red stiletto heels. I like loud music. I like whiskey & single malt scotch. I have the things that land me in the Confession line every 3-4 weeks. I think mean thoughts.

I’m not here for you to like my posts. I’m not here seeking to promote a pretty picture. I put up posts like “Puddle of Power” every once in a while because that’s my reality. This is my blog, and I’ll put here what I dam well please.

Why?

That would be a farce. Farces don’t go anywhere. They spin ‘round; milling and dawdling. Farces tailspin; crash and burn, spurned.

Religious life isn’t about farces or candy-coated lives. It’s about what is needed most to save your Soul. My Soul. Recall, each day you have God to thank & serve, a Soul to save; Heaven to gain, Hell to lose. These truths aren’t obtained on the days that things have passed well, the days that are respites; rather, the days that are difficult. The days when you have a puddle of power, and you can wallow in it, or bypass the puddle knowing that it will dry up at some point. I need religious life to get my anti-morning-person-butthead into Mass every morning, to pray my daily Rosary, to maintain the daily prayerful conversation with Christ; a steady balance of work, pray, play. God calls you to unity with Him; and He calls me as well. We are called differently, as are the life paths. However, what doesn’t differ is our sinfulness.

Concisely, I’m not pure religion & prayer all day, every day. My blog should be a reflection of my reality.

A Response

I sent an email to mother superior of a particular monastery. I didn’t hear anything, so I wrote a letter on the 6th; I had wanted to attend daily Mass at my more-local parish, but they were closed for the day. Anyway, I sent a letter, it is to the letter that mother superior responded. She told me in her response back that she has an email address. Oh, I know! However she requested that I call the Novice Mistress and provide information on good times to have a conversation.

This could go so many ways!

I’ve been praying about how to respond in the written form. Speaking …. sheesh. I don’t like speaking on the phone. Perhaps more immediately is the difficulty of the summer schedule – my hours are all messy. I have parents who haven’t scheduled sessions yet for this week.

Prayers would be appreciated. This is the only community at this moment with whom I’m beginning communication & discernment.

Oh, St. Joseph!

Do you have an absolute favorite saint?

Perhaps you pray to him/her, wear their medal & frequently ask help.

And there’s the other saint who surprises you.

Seemingly out of nowhere.

My favorites are Ss. Anthony, Benedict & Michael

I ask help of some additional ones like St Dr Guiseppe Moscati

And, there’s St. Joseph.

He’s so quiet – literally in the Gospels; only sometimes being addressed in private devotions. Over the years, I’ve read many stories about the miraculous staircase to the nun’s choir loft, of real estate breakthroughs, jobs found, etc. I never really understood it, how do you get attached to a Saint of which you have no personal reflections? No writings? Almost no presence? Does it not strike anyone else of how funnily he’s absent from the Gospels and we know nothing after the Angel tells him the Child is in danger? Yet, there’s always a statue of him somewhere in every church? He’s hotly contended in tradition: old vs youthful, assumed into heaven or not; how he came to be Mary’s chaste Spouse; so forth.

Years ago, when I was trying to process the reality of my brother’s abortion (my sister & I were informed via her Confirmation letter), I sought the advice of a Christian leader of a student religious group and she wisely suggested naming my brother to make him “more real” and less abstract. The processing stopped there for several years, simply naming him Joseph. But that’s where I got to know St. Joseph. In the past 3-4 years in which I’ve been attending the TLM, I’ve been praying to St  Joseph, asking him help in the grieving and adapting process pertaining to the loss of my brother. I prayed his Litany every Sunday, without fail. Eventually, I came to reflect on more than just the loss of my brother, but on him who is Terror of Demons or Lover of Poverty, and Mirror of Patience. Holy cats, that’s what leaks through the silence surrounding him! There’s also the prayer at the end of the litany asking him to be our lord and protector on earth as he protected the Christ-Child & our Lady; to protect the Church from error.

Now, especially on Sundays, I’ve taken to adding on the prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary, which is typically for October, but that’s been good overall. And finally, my spiritual director told me I should say a novena for my vocation. He didn’t to whom or any other restrictions. I figured, why create a new devotion when I already one. So I ventured down to the local massive Catholic store and got two prayer cards (size, plastic & weight of a gift card) one from Padre Pio & one from St. Joseph. The St. Joseph one had to be said for 9 mornings which is hard for me to manage because I’m a school-based therapist, my mornings are eat-wash up-drive; they’re not very leisurely. So I messed up, but I put in my nine mornings, and that day (actually about 12 days after starting) someone name-dropped a particular monastery. I put them on the list along with 4 other places that were attractive to me; and narrowed it down to just 2 places during my last meeting with my spiritual director. However, if I’m actually trusting St. Joseph to pick the place for me, why do I have two places listed? A plan b does not say trust!

Nope, just one place. I got impatient with sending Mother Superior an email, so I also sent a hand-written note.

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interest and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do help me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son and spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms, I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls – pray for us. Amen.