I got an email over the weekend from Sr Joseph with one of the most simplistic subject lines: “Fwd: Oprah.”
Last spring, Oprah, featured the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist (DSMME or SMMEs) on her show. Apparently, she’s back at it. It was supposed to have aired today. If someone can find the full episode clip of the Sisters, I’d love to watch it.
Here’s the link.
I could have been there. I could have either learned on this side of the convent walls as I did, or I could have learned inside them, that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I shouldn’t be spending time on what could have been, but on where I’m going.
As I have mentioned in the past several posts, the DSMME put a deadline on my student loans. I have spoken with many KoC and other Catholic societies in the region and have been told not much can be started before March. March does not leave me a lot of time, so instead of buckling down and plastering this world with monetary pleas, I’ve been praying more.
Which leads me to say that I think God is calling me elsewhere. I’m not 100% certain, nor am I pouring the concrete until the Sisters’ deadline has arrived.
In the meantime, if you could squeeze me into your prayers – for clarity – I’d really appreciate it!
I received an email from the D. Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist Sunday. It puts a demanding deadline on taking care of my student loans, one that will not be met, most likely.
I was upset for a day, now I’m so calm about the email and its implications of not entering, that it surprises even me!
So, I’m awaiting God (and my spiritual director) to provide some clarity about my other options.
I have to discern whether God is saying “yes” to my entering the DSMME, just not at this time, or God wants me elsewhere. It is that elsewhere that I’m waiting for more clarity.
I spent this past weekend at a Confirmation retreat for St James in Redondo Beach. My role there is giving me reason to pause and consider what “elsewhere” might mean.
Why do you want to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist?
I want to enter the SMMEs for a few reasons. The first year of my discernment from 2006 through 2007 was spent in prayer and I did not have a spiritual director at that time. I was in contact with a few different religious orders: Mission San Jose Dominicans, Daughters of Charity and School Sisters of Notre Dame. I liked different things about each one, but I soon recognized an undercurrent of apprehension: were those convents the right place? What did they think of me? Would I fit in? Why don’t they practice their traditional charism? why the denuded chapels? why do they have to schedule in community time or prayer time together? why this and why that?
When I stepped foot into the SMME motherhouse that Friday evening none of those previously ever-present questions arose in my mind. I was completely focused on God and on just enjoying myself during the retreat. I felt this sense of peace within myself; I no longer had to search and question and research; no more comparison and contrast with my beliefs and practices with that of the religious community. I felt that it was over – which is why I so readily asked for papers Saturday morning before that evening’s Eucharistic Adoration – I had already asked Jesus Friday night where He wanted me. He gave me the answers one after the other. The whole weekend God was saying “Yes, this is the place” in all those special ways He does in our own understanding of Scripture, prayer, music, people, etc. Lastly, as I was leaving Sunday to go home, I tried to see myself at the SMMEs just as I had tried with the MSJ Dominicans, the DCs, and SNDs; never had I pictured myself that way before, so fully.
What is it about this Community and our way of life that most appeals to you?
I’m very attracted to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist way of life and community for reasons that echo the above. In the years since my Confirmation I have had to re-teach myself the mechanisms of the Catholic Church. I’ve had to learn about charisms, evangelical counsels, virtues of the flesh and theology. Few religious orders and communities actually practice a vow of obedience and poverty as I have seen in the SMMEs. There is a true sense of community: in the Eucharist and prayer life, in your daily life, and your interaction with each other. The vows and community life are faithfully lived out – sacrifice is not questioned, it’s expected. I’ll never forget the visit I made to convent here in Los Angeles and I was asked “Why should you have to sacrifice XYZ?” I don’t have to sacrifice. I could enter a religious community that would permit me to own things – but then I’m not really, fully loving God, am I? Isn’t that Who this is all about? God invites us, we say “yes,” and I’m only supposed to give up what I think I can manage? No. I’m reminded of the verse in Revelations that describes what type of service and love God enjoys — either be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are definitely filled with Love and Passion for God and interested in doing His service and His will. Oh, and you’re faithful to the Magisterium, which is important as I’ve seen it affect faith and salvation first hand in those who decide to add “New Age” or east Asian practices to the Catholic faith and liturgy; I don’t like the spiritual “funny” business.
I am aching to put my thoughts and feelings into words for you, yet the task lingers before me. Words and sentences fail me – nothing sounds quite right. Perhaps that is fitting?
Love is blind, especially when it comes to us loving Our Lord. We hear our Souls saying stark, simple prayers, then mutter in our beings that surely the Lord will not take our Soul’s groans seriously. Perhaps He thought us just thinking and not praying and requesting that He make us broken, or impoverished, or a Fool for Him.
I knew that I was going to suffer, and that the heartbreak would be beyond anything I could imagine or prepare. I could arm myself with His Armour (Eph. 6), but as I couldn’t imagine, I couldn’t prepare myself further, except through prayer. Thus I chose a prayer:
Holy Mother, pierce me through, In my heart each wound renew Of my
Saviour crucified. Amen.
This prayer to the Five Wounds of Christ had one repeating phrase pleading Momma Mary to take my heart into her holy hands, and present it to our Lord. He was then to say it be done to me, as it was done to Him! My heart was to bear each Wound of His Blessed Flesh, from the nail piercing and bruising from the hammer blows, to the gaping tear of the thrust lance.
And I broke. What else was I to do? I could not fathom praising Him. Why would I want to praise Him for pain? Two months later, I understand that is what I should be doing because I now know with every fiber of my Being that He hears me. What am I that He should listen to me? Listen, He does. It is more than many dare ponder.