Sunday, October 28, 2012

Leave Your Sleep

Okay, I am not even going to hold back on an experience I had last night. I met one of my inspirational people and we chatted, then she gave me a hug. So, this is the ultimate in white and nerdy...I know, yet I am still elated from the experience. Natalie Merchant was playing with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and I have been debating seeing her since last spring. When I moved to Fond du Lac I invited Deborah, the sister I live with, to join me for the concert. Well, last night we went and afterward we walked to where the car was parked and went in through the hotel connected to the parking ramp. Well, two women who were former Sisters of St. Agnes were there in the lobby and Deborah was chatting-it-up with them while I waited. Then, to my amazement I saw her band members. Well, I did not even know Deborah and the other two were there any longer as I pondered what to do. Woohoo...then, lo and behold in walks Natalie Merchant. So, I left the three of them (it was like the disappeared) and walked over to her and thanked her for all she does for women and blahblah. Deborah came over and we talked for a bit. I shared with Deborah during intermission that Ophelia was the song that got me through novitiate, along with some other favorites. And, then shared the story with Natalie or Ms. Merchant...not sure how to call her in a know who I mean. Then she said, "So, you are not cloistered?" We then talked a bit and as we were saying good-by she hugged me and Deborah. I do not know if this story is blog-worthy, yet it was so great to actually meet Natalie Merchant, a woman artist who lives her passion through music. Heroine's inspire for a variety of reasons and this woman's grasp of life provides strength and courage through her poetry and verse. It was a good time and now, sitting back in my little world I am forced to reflect on whether I use my talents and gifts to do the same? Something to think about. I

I debated sharing this story because in one way this experience seemed very adolescent. However, after thinking about it I realized that this is also an opportunity to promote her collection of songs created through poetry in an attempt to promote literacy. Have a great week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Live Simply, So That Others May Simply Live (Gandhi)

“It is impossible to detach from the love of material things unless it is replaced by love for things unseen.”   --Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila's feast day was celebrated last week and the above quote reflects some of the things I have been pondering of late. This morning I was reading a chapter from Susan Murphy's Upside Down Zen where she states, "Recently I learned that the ecological footprint of how we live here in Australia is such that for every person on Earth to live as we do, seven more Earth's are needed. It is of little consolation to learn that the way of life in the United States requires eleven more Earths" (p. 85). It is necessary to recognize the role I play in living a consumeristic lifestyle. This is not easy to do, and since taking the vow of poverty in some ways it has become more difficult for me. I have commitments in Milwaukee and lately have been making 1-3 trips a week in that direction. One of the things I am attempting to do is stay overnight with a friend when possible to save on travel and gas. Gas is one of the areas where I may be able to cutback and attempt to lessen my footprint. Now I have to figure out how to be wiser about travel. It was so convenient the two years I lived across from work and near where I shopped and spent most of my time. 

A couple of years ago I began using a glass drinking bottle rather than plastics and then I broke it last week. The time in between then and getting a new one I purchased water at least 5-6 times, plus had to use plastic cups with water at some establishments. Living with water as a commodity is not an easy task and my hope is to find a way in which I do not have to pay for it ever. So far this has not been a success. 

I think this week may offer a good time to take an inventory of how I am using the resources given to me. Do I have a love for the unseen? Is this greater than my operating out of the dullness of convenience and my desire for more? There are areas in my life where a good cutback can take place. Using my own bottle and less gas offer a some ways that I am awakening to my consumeristic ways, and this journey at times feels like a purification. Yet, there is much to do yet as I look at what it means to live simply and attempt to lessen my ecological footprint.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Today A Guest Blogger

A couple of months ago I received a suggestion to have someone write a guest blog and after thinking about it this seemed like a fantastic idea to offer a different perspective. So, last week I asked Sr. Mary Rose Obholz if she would like to give it a try. She ministers on the Arizona/Mexico border and has been doing this for nearly 2 1/2 years, prior to that we lived together in Milwaukee where she ministered in the area of Adult Education, and before that she spent several years in Mississippi. This is not a complete biography, yet it seems important to give a short introduction to a woman of faith who inspires hope in others:

Where is my Oasis?  
In the poor and lowly of the world, let us see Christ.
In those forced to leave their homes because of wars or famine, let us see Christ.
In children, who go to bed hungry and who cannot attend school,  let us see Christ.
In those who are living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases, let us see Christ.
In immigrants and refugees, seeking freedom and hope, let us see Christ.
In those who are orphaned and abandoned, let us see Christ.
In the elderly and forgotten, let us see Christ.
In those who struggle for meaningful work, let us see Christ.
In those who struggle to find meaningful work, let us see Christ.
                                             (Catholic Relief Services Collection)
I have crossed to the border community of Naco, Sonora often since April 2010 and each time I cross, I reflect on my call to see Christ in the many people who touch my life.  This week added new dimensions to who is the Christ I meet.  I thought about a world of joy and community.    On Wednesday, I picked up one of the CSA associates, Linda Miller, who journeyed with me to Naco, Sonora on Thursday.  She participated in some of the work I do at Casa Saludable, a wellness center in which I do healing energy work.  In the morning I did some healing energy work and in the afternoon, the focus was on teaching people to eat healthy; many have diabetes.  After that we traveled to the Bibliotheca where I taught English and the women and children attempted to help Linda and I learn Spanish.  We laughed and enjoyed the learning session and I saw Christ.  After that, we were invited to Elvia’s bakery for homemade soup and tortillas.  We conversed and shared life experiences and I saw Christ. I thought of the Chapter prayer that I pray daily with the CSA community here and how much it speaks of seeing Christ.  May CSA continue to be the compassion, trust, love, courage and peace of Christ as we are about the Mission of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beyond Vision

Sunday was a historic event in our Church as Hildegard of Bingen was named a Doctor of the Church. This woman was a Benedictine Nun who composed music, functioned as a healer, spoke truth to power, and had a mystical connection to God through her visions. I first heard of Hildegard in 1994 and hold her in high regard as a model of what it means to be a woman in the Catholic Tradition. There is a quality of beauty about knowing who Hildegard is and last year I watched the movie Vision and continue to be touched by real things that she encountered through her own strengths and growing edges. Her heart was out there and she risked so much for what she believed in. Every time I reflect on Hildegard I wonder if I have the courage to risk as she did. And, every time I come up short. It is great to have a woman of such personal inspiration be recognized by the whole, yet whether she received this honor or not my life is challenged, enriched and strengthened because of her.