Focus on "I can"

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Perseverance forges character, and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:3-5

I’ve been at Notre Dame learning strategies to improve Catholic schools’ outreach to and success with Latino children, and the program has been quite helpful. But lots of what we’ve learned is applicable to other things … including, in this case, religious life.

Consider this line: “I can think of all the reasons of why I can’t … or I can do all the reasons that makes it I can.” Continue Reading

Monastic Worship Forum

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald

The first part of this summer – after retreat – has already been very busy. After the lovely Jubilee celebration last week, a bunch of us set off for Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD. We went for a conference on the liturgical change from Vatican II. My head is still spinning. 🙂 Continue Reading

50 years later …

What compels a woman to give up everything to seek and serve God and God’s creation? Sisters Janet Cassidy, Phyllis McMurray and Marlene Miller (shown left to right with Prioress Sr. Sandra Brunenn, far right) did just that 50 years ago … and choose to continue doing so today.

This weekend we celebrated their Jubilee with friends and family. Continue Reading

Going Forth in Peace: Work and Prayer on Day 6

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Many people are familiar with the Benedictines’ motto of “work and prayer.” That is, Benedictines seek to balance prayer time and work time. Today, however, Sr. Antoinette helped us explore what it should really mean in practice.

Foremost, she said, work and prayer should be more than what we do. It should be what and how we live. Continue Reading

Benedictine Harmony and Balance: Day 5

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“Benedictine harmony and balance require a respect for time. … Time is to be spent in prayer, in sacred reading, in work, and in community participation … It is public as well as private; it is private as well as public. It is balanced.” (Joan Chittister, OSB;  Wisdom Distilled from the Daily)

In other words, no one thing should consume our lives! We should never spend an inordinate amount of time on, say, watching TV or scrubbing the floor. All dimensions of life should be in balance, making up the whole. They should fit together as a puzzle (which is what Sr. Jackie and I are piecing together in this picture!). And each piece, when of the proper size and weight, should help make us fully alive. Continue Reading

We are gift: Day 4

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Retreat is a time for deepening our relationship with God. We read … we observe … we listen. During yesterday’s retreat conference, we listened to Sr. Antoinette reflect on the love of God.

As Jesus says, “Father, they are your gift to me” (John 17:24). In other words, we are gift! God made us and gave us to Jesus as a precious gift. Continue Reading

Community life: The good, the bad and the … adjustments

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

When I was a postulant, I struggled to adopt the monastic daily schedule. They get up before the sun, for heaven’s sake. Aaargh!

If you can’t tell, I am not a morning person. I walk around in a daze, barely aware of my surroundings. Coffee helps, but still.

So every day, I’d somehow end up in chapel for Lauds at 6:30 a.m., dressed and ready for school (I had to leave right after prayers). On the way to the chapel each day, I’d set my backpack on the bench outside the vocation office, often passing a Sister who was heading for her own office to drop off her purse. Continue Reading