Reflecting

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.

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Acceptance to SMMEs

March 4, 2009

Dear Megan,

We have recieved your completed official applicationof possible entrance into our community, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, and after study of your documents, have decided to accept you for entrance into the community! Congratulations! How such news must warm your heart – and please know that we are most grateful to God as well! Only God can give a religious vocation and thus all honor and glory and gratitude be to Him for this grace! But we also thank you for your response to His offered gift! We can imagine your joy in recieving this news!

[details about entrance date]

[signed]
In Mary, Mother of the Eucharist,
Mother Assumpta, OP

Excerpted from my SMME entrance application:

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, that 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 pictured myself that way before, so fully.

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.

SMME Retreat

Went on the SMME (Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist) retreat this weekend. I flew in Friday evening and had a convent dinner because 5 of us (including the Dominican priest) did not get in until after 6pm. There were only about 30 of us there for the first night – we had all flown in. One from Alaska, Oregon, Me (Los Angeles), Boston, Vermont, Texas, and NY, etc. It was in the 40s and 30s the whole weekend.

In the morning they took us to Domino’s Farms. Tom Monoham, the creator of Ave Maria Univ. set up a Catholic chapel in his Domino’s office building and its down the road from the convent. I met with Sr. Joseph Andrew, vocation director, on Saturday morning and asked for my papers. She asked if I wanted to wait until Sunday morning, after all night Eucharistic Adoration. No. She squealed with delight when she found out that Fr Thomas Nelson was my spiritual director, too! She said that my student loans were very manageable.

Before I left the convent on Sunday afternoon, I stopped by the Spiritus Sanctus Acdemey chapel. I looked about to make certain no one else was around. Back when I was interested in Opus Dei, I started to tell Jesus ‘Goodbye’ when I left the establishment. This time I said, aloud, “I’ll be back.”

So, I have my application. I should probably give Fr. Thomas a heads up before I start, though.

Life so Far

Classes are done for the summer, back in May, actually. Since then I have looked and looked for a job. I finally was employed at the end of June at two retail stores. However, sales are so low and business slow that my hours have been cut and I’m lucky to even work two days a week at one job, and get 4 hours paid at the other.

In the meantime, I’m working in the small vegetable garden or sewing. What am I sewing? bits and pieces of many different quilts. I’m in the process of quilting the one for grandma, sewing the one for grandpa and a bunch of other projects. Why the rush? Well, if I get accepted to the SMMEs, I won’t be able to quilt any longer. I’ve got a lot of quilts to finish up for family members and fabric to use up. There’s a clear possibility that I wont be able to make all the quilts with the fabric I’ve planned, so tonnes of little scrap quilts are being made. For grandpa I’ve made a scrappy Double Wedding ring; grandma an “amethyst” in green tones; mom Cathedral windows, which she doesn’t know is for her but has declared that she does not like it. Too bad, its all in pink and cream colors for her. Dad and my sister I still have to figure out. Dad will likely get the kalidescope and monkey, I’ll scrape something up. The one on the right, is just a scrap with blues, greens (melon is the light one), and browns. I thought I would use up all the fabric I had, but I didn’t. Will probably make a second scrappy one. This one pictured is only 38″ x 38″.

Going camping this weekend and then in August will be going to Cancun with the family. On Aug 18th I’m due for jury duty and on the 25th classes resume.

Vocation-wise: I have registered for the fall retreat Nov 8-9th with the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (SMMEs). I’ve told my dad about my discernment now. He seems ambivalent about it. He appears to be hoping that I’ll go in November to the convent retreat, find out what it’s really like and get back on track (date, marry, have kids, etc). In the meantime, I’m hanging out with a seminarian since he can’t find work and my work hours suck. We talk about God, screwed up families, etc. all that fun stuff. Mom found out about it last week after we walked a couple miles on the beach strand and made fun of me the rest of the day (“why don’t you hang around someone you can actually date?” “you don’t want to be a nun, do you?”). Ha, good times.

I’ve also switched parishes. I no longer attend Mass at St John Fisher unless I can’t help it. I now attend Ss. Peter and Paul Church which is much more conservative, in union with Rome, adheres to the GIRM, and well, actually looks like a church. I may even give and buy a chapel veil (not necessary), but it’ll come in handy for when I do attend the TLM. I try to attend Bible study once a week at St James, and I have a spanish classes that runs once a week for six weeks (this week will be my last).

And that’s my life in a nutshell.