Like Mary, helping children along the path to God

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Back in the day of nuns in habits filling schools and hospitals, little girls saw the mystery and beauty of religious life before them all the time.

They had a first-hand view of a counter-cultural life that would give them education, purpose and joy.

Today, fewer of us teach or nurse. (We established the institutions and then taught young women how to run them. They didn’t need us there anymore!)

Today, you’re more likely to see us in parish offices, social justice venues, college campuses and even on the bus! (We do all of those things, and Sister Janet and I teach, too.)

And after Pope John XXIII suggested we return to wearing the clothes of those we minister to (as opposed to the habits that were the common clothes of Middle Ages folks), we began dressing like common folk.

The upshot? We aren’t as visible. Now, we must ask you, the parents, to help your daughters and sons see the value and blessing of religious life!

I thought about this during our Christmas Vigil this year, as Sister Mary Jane placed the Infant in the manger. Jesus’ mother certainly knew she would raised her beloved son to walk another path entirely … whether it was what she would choose for him or not. Continue Reading

Preparing for the Lord: A Final Thought

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

A few days ago, Sister Sandra spoke to us about Advent coming to an end.

Christmas is popping up around the house, she noted. Christmas trees are being hauled into place, decorated and lighted. Nativity sets are filling the Welcome Area, the Heritage Area, bedrooms, offices – wherever you look! Wrapping paper and ribbons and bows spill out of boxes. The chapel has been transformed. Continue Reading

Dancing Down the Aisles of our Life

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Last  Christmas, I asked my niece, Lisa, how the Christmas play went for the kindergarten children at St. Joseph School. Her 5-year-old son, Matthew, was to be a shepherd. Lisa laughed.

The packed church had been hushed as the tiny children started down the long aisle, solemn and pious, toward the Nativity. Suddenly Mary dropped the baby – a doll, of course! – on the floor to fix her hair. When finished, she scooped the infant up and skipped to catch up with Joseph (who had kept walking). The audience had laughed, as did Lisa and I at the retelling of the delightful scene. Continue Reading

When the Preparing, Waiting and Staying Awake are Over

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Buzz words about Advent pop into our minds when we reflect on the season.  “Prepare, Wait,  Be Ready, Stay Awake.”

As Matthew asserts, “You must be prepared for at an hour you do not expect, the son of Man will come.”

My reflections this season have focused on this. My own Sister sister, my sister-in-law, Sisters dear to me here in the monastery have all faced God in ways that I have not (yet).

How do we stay alert and awake for the Lord’s undeniable coming? Continue Reading

Always preparing to meet the Lord

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

ADVENT 3rd Sunday, 2013: 1st reading Is 35:1-6a, 10; 2nd reading James 5:7-10; Gospel Mt 11:2-11

I was visiting my friend, a Benedictine Sister, who was being cared for on our Health Care Floor. Just the day before, she had tacked a note to our bulletin board telling us a Hospice nurse would be coming to the monastery to care for her.

While I had known she was seriously ill, she never indicated how bad it was and I did not ask.

The news caught me off guard.  Continue Reading

Why make the choice to be a Catholic Sister?

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

God looks down from heaven … to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Psalm 53

As we prayed this verse at Lauds recently, a question a friend had posed popped into my head. “Why have you made the choice to be a Catholic Sister when so few are doing so? Aren’t you afraid that your numbers are growing smaller?”

I’d be silly – and untruthful – to say it has never crossed my mind. But, then, there are a number of things I also think of. Continue Reading

Using time – however long you have – wisely

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

ADVENT 2nd Sunday, 2013: 1st reading Is 11:1-10; 2nd reading Rom 15:4-9; Gospel Mt 3:1-12

John the Baptist makes striking appearance wearing camel’s hair, a leather belt, and eating locusts and wild honey.

But his words are more than striking. They are shocking: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Prepare the way of the Lord. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire!

Again we hear what we heard last Sunday. BE PREPARED. Continue Reading