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I’ve been back for a while from my monastic visit which occurred August 7th through the 10th; I only took two days off from work. While I had a nice time with the sisters and doing some of their work with them, I made the personal decision not to openly discuss things with the vast majority of my friends until I spoke with my spiritual director. Unfortunately, he cancelled last minute at 10pm on the Feast of the Assumption of the BVM. I view him as having made immature comments about the review of my vocational questionnaire prior to when I sent it to the sisters: he said that he put it off because it contains “personal” information and “you know us Mexicans, ‘manana'”. I may have to find a new spiritual director, which is unfortunate for me. If you have any suggestions for the Beach cities, Torrance, San Pedro area, &c please let me know.

I’m also thinking of posting my journal from the monastic visit here. These are just thoughts, nothing is decided just yet.

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.

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.

High Price for Vocation

I’m approxiamately 2 weeks away from submitting my application for entrance to the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. I’m waiting to set up a time with my Spiritual Director to review it and get the physical exam done as well.

After that, I can send it in.

Of course, there’s a but to be expected. I know that if God can handle my salvation, He can handle $46,700 in student loans.

I know of two resources:

But are there others? Are there certain patron Saints I could appeal to?

Life After Midterms

Three out of four projects done isn’t too bad. It’s been emotionally exhausting and I can barely think, at least not critically. To illustrate, I’m usually the life of Bible study, but not tonight.

But God knows me all too well and has used this moment when I was tired and doubting the use of my Lenten fast to bring me back to Him. I’ve never left Him since returning in 2005, but we all have those little moments when we pray “Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief.”

So I was praying the Rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament and I did not want to pray for the end of abortion again, so it came to me that I should pray for chastity which would help end abortion by another avenue. God really used that moment to help me realize how much I am going to follow through on my discernment and enter religious life. He helped me see again how much I enjoy being His.

Now to explain why chastity is at the top of my mind: a friend of mine at the school of social work knows that I want to be a sister/religious, and she thinks that I could take social work to really re-vamp the abstinence programs because it’s such a beautiful thing. Then I was finishing up the curriculum vitae that Fr. Thomas had asked me to write so he’d have something to talk to me about when I meet him for spiritual direction. I wanted to say that I wasn’t attracted to marriage at all, that I like being chaste.

God really spoke to my heart during the Rosary and I ended up laughing for several moments in front of Him, in an empty church!

Oh, it’s been a great day. Especially since then I’ve heard back from Fr. Thomas and I’ll be meeting him tomorrow for the first time. I’m really excited, although I don’t quite know what to expect